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Saturday, April 13, 2024


May 13, 2001 — More than 20 young and young-at-heart Virgin Islanders reigned over the Reichhold Center for the Arts Saturday night in Starfest 7, a packed evening of song and dance.
The stage was a symmetrical set of stairs leading to a screen where a "high-tech computer" coordinated the program. During the opening number, a rocket from time and space landed onstage, disgorging a strange artifact. The object was identified by the computer as a cassette from the past, which it was then fed for digestion.
The computer display was a giant head which spoke to the assembly informing them the cassette was a collection of songs and dances from ancient times, beginning with the 1940s.
Throughout the program the talking head returned to explain the music period and comment on the changing times. The giant computer screen further featured clips of performers from past eras singing and dancing in real time.
The computer’s main function, however, was playing the cassette and reproducing the musical events of the times. The lead act was Marsha Rawlins, in a bright blue evening gown complete with boa, singing "Makin' Whoopee" and "Summertime" a la Ella Fitzgerald. This was followed by the Billie Holiday favorite "Them There Eyes."
The diminutive Janine Martin was next, singing the Judy Garland great "Over the Rainbow." Martin’s performance belied her tender age of 11 as she moved down center stage to give the audience the full effect of her crowd-pleasing effort.
The Starfest 7 dancers returned again and again to the stage with everything from tap to jitterbug to hip-hop. While all the numbers were of a professional level, the jitterbug sequence with its colorful costumes and swirling skirts really made the show for those in the crowd who could remember being bobby-soxers.
For folks with a taste for more contemporary music, Starfest 7 served up multiple acts of rap and funk by a group of talented artists. There was even a poetry rendition by a young heart-throb from the '50s which had many in the audience calling for inclusion.
One of the most exciting elements of the evening was the audience. The Reichhold theater was filled with Virgin Islanders of all types, dressed to express their proclivities and out for an evening of pure enjoyment. Starfest 7 and the audience were well matched.
Starfest 7 will play again Sunday and Monday (a third performance added at the last minute) at 8 p.m. There is no better place to see and be seen as Virgin Islanders entertain Virgin Islanders.

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