BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Governor Livingston alumnus and entrepreneur, Alec Feinsot (2016 graduate), had an idea when he was 13 to start a teen theater production company - and now, just six years later, he is seeing that dream realized. His new company, Shining Star Players, launched in 2015 and has already had two productions in 2016.
In addition to his company, Feinsot, 19, is a freshman in Rider University’s honors program. He started Shining Star Players, a non-profit 501(c)(3), in 2015. This past spring, he produced “The Addams Family” and in August he brought “Spelling Bee” to the Off-Broadway Davenport Black Box Theatre in NYC.
He is gearing up for a fundraiser to raise money for his upcoming summer season. Snow Time!, a holiday fundraiser featuring American Idol top four finalist Jessica Meuse, will come to the Bickford Theatre Jan. 14, 2017 at 8 p.m.
Feinsot was on Season 13 of American Idol, and contacted many of his fellow cast members to perform for his concert. He was thrilled when Jessica Meuse, a top four finalist from Season 13, returned his email to say yes.
"For the concert, I had reached out to a lot of performers, these performers were either on Broadway, TV or American Idol," said Feinsot. "I had heard back from most of them and all of them were super encouraging of what I was doing,” but their schedules did not accommodate his concert. “Jess responded to me,” he continued, “and I was truly in shock. I was such a fan when she was on American Idol and I had mentioned I had my little Idol stint, but didn't expect to hear back from her.” They emailed back and forth and she agreed to be the featured performer for his fundraiser.
Feinsot, born in New York City, but moved to Berkeley Heights at the age of 3.
“My mother had always played Broadway show tunes in the house, so it was always a part of me," said Feinsot. "When I was 6 I saw my first Broadway show and fell in love with musical theatre.”
He set a goal for himself to audition for American Idol when he was 16 and did just that. That perseverance is also what pushed him to overcome the obstacles he encountered starting his production company.
“I have the attitude that when you start something, you follow through and don't stop until your desired result is achieved," he said. "This so holds true for my company, I had a lot of bumps in the road at the beginning, but everything was a learning experience."
The biggest learning curve for Feinsot was the amount of moving parts that go into a production, “I have been involved in theatre my whole life, but the magnitude of putting together a show is incomprehensible. Since we are a relatively new company, we don't have the finances to pay an entire staff, so the first two shows, I found myself running almost everything myself.” Feinsot had a choreographer and musical director, but everything else from negotiating rent to lighting and memos to the cast and creative team were aspects he was in charge of personally. He is hoping the next phase of his business will evolve to stepping away from administrative to directing and pursuing his artistic vision.
Click here to purchase tickets for Snow Time!, a holiday fundraiser featuring American Idol top four finalist Jessica Meuse, at the Bickford Theatre, Jan. 14, 2017.