For an Entertainer, Hell hath no fury like a posse of sugar-crazed thirteen year-olds at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
In a career that mirrors the best of roller coaster rides, I consider my time at Cutting Edge Entertainment as one of the definitive high points. It was here that I truly honed my skills as an entertainer, as opposed to just being a Vocalist/Musician (now, now… for all of you Vocalists and Musicians out there, no offense meant, much love to ya).
I believe it was my mother who first brought the ad in The Bucks County Courier Times to my attention which said something like “looking for young, energetic personalities,” and something about “having to be a good dancer.” I thought that it seemed right up my alley…and indeed it was.
After what can only be called an interesting social audition (we basically did a speed-dating-round-robin-get-to-know-you-social-chat-without-the-dating-part-conference), we moved on to the dance audition. It was kind of different, but certainly interesting as far as auditions go(Let’s just say Craig has a very unique style of auditioning, but in the context of the industry very effective).
I remember being a bit tentative about jumping in the middle of the dance circle we formed, but it really wasn’t anything more than what I’d done numerous times before through out my years in Junior & Senior High School. The fact that I’d gotten to know everyone made me forget about the usual fears, so in I went.
I came out an employee.
The Bar & Bat Mitzvah business can be the butt of jokes for the outsider (which I take liberties ribbing Craig about frequently) but inside the business there’s a serious amount of preparation and presentation that goes into each event. For just short of two years, I learned what it took to entertain people of all ages. From getting the whole crowd warmed-up and excited for the night’s events, charming the lovable Grandparents into getting up and on the dance floor, facing and conquering dreaded thirteen year-old gangs that could sense weakness as easily as they could surf the web, assisting and preparing the post-synagogue ceremony, and of course making the Bar/Bat Mitzvah feel like a million bucks.
All the while I danced, sang, played, told a few jokes (poor ones) and soaked up each moment. I learned where I could improve as well as role-modeled myself off of my amazing co-workers night after night.
As my tenure with Cutting Edge came to a close, I realized that my entire experience with the company was a proving ground, and was an integral part of the lifelong preparation I’ve been given for a life in the entertainment business. Now, I entertain across the nation, I have my own sketch comedy show at www.SketchedOutTV.com, and am working on my third studio album. Among all the feathers in my cap, though, my time with Cutting Edge stands out, as a pivotal point in my career helping pave the way for all I have done since, and – as always – a second family.
Justin’s sketch comedy show – www.SketchedOutTV.com
Justin Guarini photo by Matt Beard
In March of 2002 Justin Guarini came to me asking for a few months off to go to California to be on a new reality television show. Little did I know it would be his last request as an employee. That June I went to Australia for a month, only to return to a media frenzy that not only will I never forget, but that turned Cutting Edge Entertainment upside down (in a good way) for quite some time after. Who could have predicted that this unknown reality show (yes, American Idol) would have become what it is today. Although Cutting Edge has had near misses on Idol since Justin, he will always be our number one.