Middlesex County News

South Plainfield’s Own Natasha Kurilew Hoping to Be Named 2016’s Fearless Icon

ebfd1261450f444f1ee3_IMG_0095.JPG
Natasha Kurilew is one of five finalists competing Dec. 11 in the 2016 Fearless Icon finals. Credits: KP Expressions
ebfd1261450f444f1ee3_IMG_0095.JPG

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield’s own Natasha Kurilew, for the second consecutive year, has been named one of the final five in the Fearless Icon competition. On Dec. 11, she will take to Union County Performing Arts Center’s (UCPAC) Main Stage in the hopes of winning the singing contest along with a cash prize and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have her dream show produced.

“Expect to be blown away. I'm still floored with my competition,” said Kurilew of the four talented singers she will go up against on Sunday. “They each have earned their place and I'm humbled to have been selected alongside such professional, talented performers.”

Currently in its third year, Fearless Icon – presented by UCPAC in association with Fearless Productions and RSI Bank – is the battle of the best musical theater voices in the state. Described as a cross between American Idol, The Voice and X-Factor, the competition featured auditions throughout the state with the 100 best voices from New Jersey battling it out over a series of weekly elimination rounds with judges and the audience selecting two contestants each week to go on to compete in the semifinals.

Sign Up for E-News

On Nov. 27, the ‘sweet sixteen’ semifinalists – Kurilew, included – took to UCPAC’s Irving Street stage in the hopes of winning one five spots in Dec. 11 finals. Impressing celebrity guest judge and actor/director Richard Kline with her fierce mix of rock/theater talent, Kurilew garnered her second appearance in the finals in as many years.

“It was my first time competing in any kind of theatrical competition and I was absolutely terrified to sing with real theater people,” said Kurilew of last year’s competition in which she made it to the top three. “I did not expect to get as far as I did.”

This time around, Kurilew, who will perform two different songs in Sunday’s finals, said things feel ‘familiar but exciting and new at the same time.’ “I’ve been working hard to bring a side of me that I haven't really gotten to show on stage and I'm nervous but, at the same time, so ready,” she said.

In addition to bragging rights, the winner of this year’s Fearless Icon competition will also take home a $2,500 cash prize compliments of RSI Bank and have the opportunity to produce and star in their dream production compliments of Fearless Productions and UCPAC. Although she cannot say what theatrical production she would select, Kurilew said Rent will always be her ‘personal favorite.’

Growing up, Kurilew said she was ‘always singing something or talking way too much.’ “I loved to put on a show and loved an audience no matter who or how many,” she said.

During high school, Kurilew performed the National Anthem at wrestling matches and starred in school musicals each year, even landing the lead of ‘Reno Sweeney’ in Anything Goes during her senior year. Additionally, she was a member of the high school chorus.

“I think those were my best and favorite performances,” Kurilew said of her years with the chorus. “There really was no where else for me to be as comfortable singing my style of music and with a teacher who just got me …I cut way too many classes just so I could lock myself up in the chorus room and sing it all out!”

A few years ago, Kurilew competed in and won a local karaoke contest held at the Fox & Hound in Menlo Park Mall. “It was the real deal - dress up, sing and get the crowd into it kind of thing. We had judges and major cash prizes. I may have sang the biggest song from Dreamgirls and I may have rained on more than a few parades,” she said, adding that what began as a ‘dream’ has since grown into something more.  

“Performing is my life, whether I end up on Broadway or off- Broadway or on Irving Street. I love performing and making people feel something. That makes me really happy,” Kurilew said.

These days, Kurilew works full time as a sonographer while also running the ‘WE are South Plainfield!’ Facebook page. However, should the opportunity arise, she wouldn't turn down a career in theater.

 “I would quit my job in a heartbeat if someone told me I was heading to Broadway to sing with Idina Menzel...” she said, adding, “I'm probably going to get called into the office at work after my boss reads this.”

In addition to Kurilew, the Dec. 11 Fearless Icon final will feature Kyle Javon, 17-year-old Vanessa Sierra, Craig Tiede, and 2015 semifinalist Timothy Walton. This year’s judges include Kline along with Khy Garner (director/music director), Elizabeth Ward Land (actress/singer), and Patrick Starega (director/choreographer). Bruce De La Cruz serves as music director with a production team that includes Tim James, Bree Guell, Josh Cote and Tim Chavis.

“Fearless Icon has become about so much more than the competition. It has slowly become an artistic invitational. Not only does it highlight some of the very best voices in New Jersey but it rallies an entire community around a celebration of musical theater,” said Brian Remo, executive director at UCPAC. “This year's semifinals was truly stacked with talent and the finals will truly be a memorable event.

The UCPAC Main Stage is located at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway and the Dec. 11 contest will begin at 7 p.m. with a new Fearless Icon crowed at the end of the evening. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Union County Performing Arts Center box office at (732) 499-8226 or visit boxoffice@ucpac.org. Additional information is also available by searching ‘Fearless Productions’ and ‘FEARLESS ICON: The Finals!!!’ on Facebook.

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Steven Cahn for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council

May 19, 2018

Why I am Running for Township Council:

I am running for re-election for the 3rd Ward Piscataway Township Council position because I want to remain part of the team that has been very successful in making great improvements to our community in recent years. We have been named three times (2008, 2010, 2014) by MONEY Magazine as one of the best towns to live in America. I am also running because ...

Michele Lombardi for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council

Hello, I’m Michele Lombardi, your Piscataway fourth ward councilwoman. I’m asking for your support in the upcoming democratic primary race on Tuesday June 5th. I care about what happens here in Piscataway.

I have lived in Piscataway my whole life, I was raised by parents who have strong family values and taught me to be involved in my community. My dad was a volunteer firefighter ...

Mohammed Raqeeb for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council

Mohammed Raqeeb for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 4?

Piscataway is a very special place to my family and me. Along with my wife, I have been a homeowner here for 13 years, where we are raising our 3 children. I am running to be the Ward 4 representative on Piscataway’s Township ...

Frank Uhrin for Ward 1 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

Little League baseball and Pop Warner Football have taught me a lot: teamwork matters, hard work counts, and there is a place and role for everyone.I cherish the time I spend as a Little League commissioner and Pop Warner president because the sparkle in every child’s eye when he or she makes a great play or comes to ...

Dr. Tom Connors for Ward 2 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 2?

I have been a resident of Piscataway for the past 30 years.   I have been a Democrat my entire life.  I am running for election because I'm tired of Piscataway’s career politicians who have made decades of unfulfilled promises. In my book, they get a failing grade for how they have handled the ...

Staci Berger for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 3?

I am running for the Piscataway Township Council Ward 3 position because our community needs new leadership. I will be the independent, principled, and collaborative advocate our neighborhood deserves.

I have been a Piscataway homeowner for 20 years.  I am proud that my husband, Bill Irwin, and I are raising ...

Dr. Jacqueline Littlejohn - Candidate for Piscataway Town Council

Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

I am running for election to the Piscataway Township Council because I believe that a vibrant democracy only flourishes when the governed have a voice in their government, be it in the form of compromise, protest, or even becoming viable candidates themselves. I have chosen the latter approach. As a candidate I want to be the ...

The Piscataway Democratic Organization Names its 2018 Ward Slate

The Piscataway Democratic Party is putting forward an incredible slate of ward candidates for the Township Council.  “Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, Steven D. Cahn and Michele Lombardi have brought us a 12 percent drop in the tax rate, many new job opportunities for hard working residents, and a rise in property values,” party chair and former mayor, Ted Light said.  ...

New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission Returns to South Plainfield

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A new state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) opened its doors in South Plainfield on Monday, just one week shy of a year since the borough’s former agency closed its doors. The office, located at 5000 Hadley Road, will provide in-person services to residents of the borough and the surrounding communities six days a week. 

“I would like ...

Obituaries

Toms River – Mary Stella Whiteman, 97, passed away peacefully Saturday May 19, 2018 in Rose ...
Read more
Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more

Relay For Life Top Fundraiser Brianna Cagan – Event Set For June 2

May 20, 2018

When Brianna Cagan’s dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she and her family wanted to do something meaningful to fund cancer research. Brianna, her mom Sue Kelly, and their friends started a started a Relay For Life team called “Pearly Girls.” Seven years later, the high school freshman is the American Cancer Society’s top individual fundraiser for the Berkeley ...

ESCNJ Raises $12,000 at 6th Annual 'Autism Awareness' Fundraiser

For the 6th straight year, the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey's (ESCNJ) Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play fundraiser on behalf of Autism New Jersey was a great success.

Total funds raised were approximately $12,000, as a result of pledges for laps completed, T-shirt sales, and families participating in arts and crafts activities.

The event received additional ...

Violent Campus Rapist Sentenced in New Brunswick

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - While walking across the Rutgers new Brunswick campus two years ago, a young woman was grabbed, viciously beaten, and raped by a middle-aged man from Newark.  She was saved by several students who intervened on her behalf.  Yesterday, her attacker was sentenced to 22 years in prison with no early release possibility.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Giamarese Farms and Farmers Against Hunger Grow Food for Those in Need

May 26, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a hot Friday morning before Memorial Day, volunteers were hard at work planting eggplant, tomatoes, beans and other veggies here in East Brunswick as part of an initiative by the activist group Farmers Against Hunger.  The plot on Fresh Ponds Road was donated by Jim Giamarese, and the labor was provided by corporate volunteers and local farmers.  ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...