New World School of the Arts Lights Up Miami with Rising Stars

Four students acting

New World School of the Arts returns with its annual signature showcase Rising Stars, a professionally staged, energy packed, one-of-a-kind performance. Presented by the extraordinary students of the NWSA high school and college programs, the showcase will take place over two weeks this year, beginning with the Rising Stars Exhibition, Of Pale and Furious Youth, which includes painting, drawing, design, sculpture, digital media, and installations. Just two weeks after the Exhibition and for the first time in its history, New World School of the Arts will present the Rising Stars Performance at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, offering a rich showcase of dance, music, and theater excerpts from works performed during the school year. This year New World School of the Arts dedicates both the Exhibition and the Performance to NWSA friend, supporter, and fervent advocate, Myrna Palley (in memoriam).

Of Pale and Furious Youth was curated by celebrated artist Loriel Beltran, NWSA visual arts alumnus. Of 183 individual entries submitted by student artists in the New World School of the Arts visual arts high school and college programs, Beltran selected 19 entries from 16 promising young artists to be showcased in Rising Stars this year. The work submitted answers the call of addressing the ambiguities of this moment, the uncertainties, and the reflections of what could come. The curator aimed to hold the tensions of today, in which we realize we need to produce the new normal, rather than expect things to fall back in order through the work to be created. 

Beltrán was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1985, moved at age fifteen to Miami and earned his BFA degree from New World School of the Arts. Beltrán’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Pérez Art Museum Miami; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; the Museo de Arte Acarigua-Araure in Venezuela; and the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, and he has had solo exhibitions at Central Fine and the non-profit Locust Projects in Miami. Beltran was also a co-founder and co-director of the artist-run gallery and collective Noguchi Breton (formerly GUCCIVUITTON).

Directed by Dean of Theater, Patrice Bailey, the Rising Stars Performance kicks off this year with the captivating Opening, Magic to Do from the musical Pippin, setting the tone for an enthralling evening where guests will be treated to a wide array of artistry on stage. Also included in the theater program is the passionate melody of The Wheels of a Dream and the light-hearted musical number What a Game! from the award-winning musical Ragtime, presented by the NWSA college music theater students. Also featured will be the high school music theater students as they celebrate Rydell High’s class of 1959 in all their duck-tailed, bobby-soxed, gum-snapping glory with We Go Together and Shakin’ at The High School Hop from everyone’s favorite musical, Grease. The Crucible, a Tony award-winning classic, which is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of our contemporary society, will present the audience with a more solemn mood as it explores the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem.

The audience will be mesmerized by a dynamic dance program that highlights excerpts from renowned choreographers. Award-winning choreographer, director, and filmmaker Darshan Singh Bhuller has once again created a passionate and moving work for NWSA entitled Junun (literal translation is “obsession”). Set to a driving score by Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, & The Rajasthan Express, sung in Hindi, Hebrew, and Urdu, the choreography will be danced by select NWSA college dancers. Kanji Segawa, a member of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present Scorching Bay, set to a score by John Metcalfe, while Gentry Isaiah George, NWSA dance alumnus and faculty member, will fascinate guests during both acts with two excerpts from his new work, Land of the Sea and Sun, set to the charming and irresistible music of Harry Belafonte’s renditions of Will His Love Be Like His Rum? and Come Back Liza.

Just as exciting, the New World School of the Arts music division will showcase a rich program that includes jazz, opera, and NWSA’s popular symphony orchestra. Under the direction of Jim Gasior, the award-winning NWSA Jazz Ensemble will perform George Gershwin’s iconic work, Rhapsody in Blue, described by Gershwin’s biographer as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America. The comic opera Così fan tutte, will take the audience on a willing suspension of disbelief journey with humorous scenes of intrigue, disguise, and temptation. And, new to South Florida and to New World School of the Arts, Dr. Hyunjee Chung will direct the NWSA Symphony Orchestra in the melodic Overture from Così Fan Tutte, K. 588, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The NWSA Rising Stars Alumnus Award, presented on stage during the Rising Stars Performance each year to a high school or college graduate from New World School of the Arts who is successfully contributing to their art form, will be presented to actor Michael Aronov, who graduated from the theater division of New World School of the Arts in 1994. Michael Aronov is a Tony Award winning actor that has made a name for himself by pushing the boundaries on stage and screen. He played real life Nazi hunter Zvi Aharoni, opposite Sir Ben Kingsley in “Operation Finale,” as well as the intense Chechen Warlord, Chovka, in “The Drop” alongside Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini. He spent 3 seasons on the award-winning series “The Americans,” as a physicist torn from his family; 3 seasons as the fast-talking hustler Smokey Putnum on “The Blacklist”; and was lead detective Jackie Dillon — fighting for love and loyalty in the HBO series “Jett”. Recently the actor was seen as Isaac, the sordid club owner in the Netflix show “Hit and Run,” and he will soon make his Showtime debut in the highly anticipated project “The First Lady,” where Michael portrays Obama’s controversial chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, going toe-to-toe with Academy Award Winner Viola Davis as Michelle Obama. For his Theatre work, Aronov has won the Tony Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Obie Award, and the Elliot Norton Award. The actor has also been nominated for the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the IRNE Award. He originated lead roles in “Oslo” on Broadway; Lyle Kessler’s “First Born” at The Actors Studio, Terrence McNally’s “Unusual Acts of Devotion”, and Theresa Rebeck’s “Mauritius.” Other Theatre highlights include: the Tony-nominated revival of “Golden Boy” on Broadway, the American premiere of “Blood and Gifts” at Lincoln Center; his solo-show “Manigma” – off-Broadway; Stanley Kowalski in the classic “A Streetcar Named Desire” in Europe; Jean in “Miss Julie” at the Cherry Lane Theatre; and Edgar in an award-winning production of “King Lear.” 

A New World School of the Arts Foundation Board member since the founding of the school in 1986, Myrna Palley and her husband Sheldon Palley were among the most loyal supporters of New World School of the Arts, present at every event showing their care and dedication to the advancement of our student’s artistic training and education. “Her acts of kindness and philanthropy went beyond financial donations – Myrna cared about every facet of our students’ wellbeing, whether it was helping to provide a home for a student in need, taking the time to talk to them about their interests or writing a check on the spot to purchase dance shoes or art supplies for an upcoming performance, she always demonstrated her unconditional support,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson, Provost and CEO of New World School of the Arts.

Founded by the Florida Legislature more than three decades ago, New World School of the Arts has educated, trained, and cultivated a generation of artists who have become the artistic leaders of the future. Graduates from the high school and college programs of NWSA are award-winning artists, playwrights and performers with Academy, Emmy, Tony, Grammy, and Bessie Awards. They are influential painters, sculptors and graphic designers, and their work thrives in museums and galleries, as well as on stages and concert halls around the globe. Our alumni are a source of inspiration to young artists from all walks of life in our community and in our state, and their success is a testament of the possibilities that emerge when the right blend of support and resources are engaged.

Providing access is one of New World School of the Arts most important missions. Blind to academic standing at the onset, NWSA’s acceptance policy is based solely on artistic talent. This allows students from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status to compete for their spot in the school’s coveted arts programs based on their individual talent. Once accepted, students are expected to achieve both academically and artistically. Earning respected national merit and leadership-based scholarships such as the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Posse Foundation Scholar, and Presidential Scholar in the Arts, NWSA students have demonstrated over the years that a rigorous arts curriculum not only helps foster their passion and create the next generation or artists, but it also helps students engage and achieve excellence in any academic discipline.

A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, New World School of the Arts is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, and University of Florida. NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative, and academic development through a curriculum that reflects our community and the rich multicultural state of Florida. Through our partners NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater and Art & Design. NWSA’s rigorous eight-year curriculum and conservatory-style teaching has empowered students in our community and our nation to become leaders in the arts for more three decades.

Information about New World School of the Arts at 305-237-3135 or


March 17 – April 8

Opening Reception: March 17; 5 PM – 8 PM

New World Gallery. 25 NE 2 Street, downtown Miami, FL

Free and open to the public. For information please call 305-237-3620


March 30; 7:30 PM

Miami-Dade County Auditorium. 2901 West Flagler Street, Miami, FL

Performance Tickets: $50, $30, $20

General Admission Tickets. For information please call 305-237-3135

VIP Tickets $250, $150

VIP Tickets. For information please call 305-237-3502