national academy for the performing arts


“Dreaming” - Michelle Cheng, Orange County Performing Arts Academy junior lyrical solo, KAR National Finals Blue, Las Vegas NV, July 2015
Dreaming ~ original song by Jasmine Thompson

Happy 78th Birthday to Loretta Swit

“Loretta Jane Swit (born November 4, 1937) is an American stage and television actress known for her character roles. Swit is best known for her portrayal of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on M*A*S*H, for which she won two Emmy Awards.”

“Born in Passaic, New Jersey, of Polish descent, Swit’s parents were Lester and Nellie Szwed. She studied with Gene Frankel in Manhattan in New York City and considered him her acting coach. She regularly returned to his studio to speak with aspiring actors throughout her career. Swit is also a singer, trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts prior to entering the theater. She graduated from Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic in 1955. In 1957, she graduated from Katharine Gibbs School in Montclair in June, then was employed as a stenographer in Bloomfield.”

“In 1967, Swit toured with the national company of Any Wednesday, starring Gardner McKay. She continued as one of the Pigeon sisters opposite Don Rickles and Ernest Borgnine in a Los Angeles run of The Odd Couple.”

“When Swit arrived in Hollywood, starting in 1969 she performed guest roles in various television series, including Hawaii Five-O (her first TV credit); Gunsmoke; Mission: Impossible; and Mannix.”

“Starting in 1972, Swit played the sassy and beautiful blonde head nurse Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the television series M*A*S*H. She inherited the star-making role from actress Sally Kellerman, who portrayed Margaret O'Houlihan in the feature film. Swit was one of only four cast members to stay for all 11 seasons of the show, from 1972 to 1983 (the others being Alan Alda, Jamie Farr, and William Christopher).”

“She and Alda were the only actors to have been in both the pilot episode and the finale; she appeared in all but 11 of the total of 256 episodes.”

“In 1981, Swit played the “Christine Cagney” role in the movie pilot for the television series Cagney & Lacey, but was precluded by contractual obligations from continuing the role.”

“Swit is a very strong advocate for animals and animal rights, donating much of her time to animal-related causes.”

Loretta Swit (Wikipedia)

View Bio on Official Site

JAI COURTNEY [Eric] was born and raised in the northwest region of Sydney where he developed an early interest in acting. He participated in a state sponsored drama program for young people, which led him to audition for the National Institute of Dramatic Art after high school. In 2004 he joined the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) a well-respected institution in Perth from where he graduated in 2008.

Following graduation, Jai quickly landed guest star roles on two hit Australian shows, Packed to the Rafters and All Saints and later that year he won a Theatre Critics Award for Best Newcomer for his performance in The Turning at the Perth Theatre Company.

In 2009 Jai landed the sought after role of Varro in the international Starz hit television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The character of Varro became the closest confidante to Spartacus until his death in the tenth episode. Fans of the show created an uproar over Varro’s death and to this day continue to lament about it on the many Spartacus fan sites and blogs.

After Spartacus: Blood and Sand Jai was cast in the Paramount film Jack Reacher alongside Tom Cruise and Werner Herzog. He then starred alongside Bruce Willis in A Good Day To Die Hard. The fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise which made over $300 million worldwide.

Last spring, Jai was seen in the box office hit film Divergent, alongside Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet. The film, directed by Neil Burger, is an adaptation of the hit sci-fi novel of the same name.

In October he co-starred with Joel Edgerton and Tom Wilkinson in Felony. Jai played a young police detective who suspects Edgerton’s character is lying about a crime he’s committed and he gradually builds a criminal case against him. The film had its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

In December Jai co-starred in Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie. The Universal film is based on the unbreakable spirit of Louis Zamperini, the former Olympic track prodigy who endured unimaginable hardship as a WWII POW at the hands of Japanese prison guards. Jai plays ‘Cup,’ a WWII veteran pilot who gets caught in tenacious midair gunfight alongside Zamperini.

This year, in March Jai will be seen in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the second film in the Divergent series.

In April, he co-stars in The Water Diviner, Russell Crowe’s feature directorial debut about an Australian man who travels to Turkey to attempt to locate the bodies of his three sons, who were killed there during WWI. Jai portrays ‘Lt. Col. Cyril Hughes’ who is tasked with organizing the effort to identify the tens of thousands of soldiers killed at Gallipoli.

In July he stars as Kyle Reese alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the sci-fi film Terminator: Genisys. This is the first film in a stand-alone trilogy.

Most recently Jai completed filming the psychological thriller MAN DOWN in which he plays ‘Devin Roberts’, war veteran and best friend of ‘Gabriel Drummer’ played by Shia LaBeouf. Directed by Dito Montiel, the film tells the story of a haunted Afghanistan war veteran who attempts to come to terms with his past while searching for his family in a post-apocalyptic America.

Jai will next film SUICIDE SQUAD based on the DC Comic Book in which he plays ‘Captain Boomerang’ alongside Will Smith and Jared Leto.

In addition to these roles, Jai has been working tirelessly to raise awareness and the funds needed to produce the feature-length documentary BE HERE NOW about his friend the late Andy Whitfield, who passed away 18 months after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It was Andy’s desire to have this documentary produced in order to help and inspire others dealing with cancer or any of life’s challenges. The documentary is helmed by Academy Award® nominated documentarian Lilibet Foster.

News: Rihanna to perform at 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Lionel Richie
The MusiCares Person of the Year award is given to a musician in recognition of their artistic achievements, as well as their philanthropic efforts. Past honorees include Phil Collins, Bono, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Don Henley, and James Taylor. Jimmy Kimmel has been announced as the event’s host.

MusiCares is the charitable arm of the National Recording Academy of Arts & Sciences, which awards the Grammys. It provides programs and services to the music community, including emergency financial assistance for medical bills and treatment, as well as living expenses.

The 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year gala will be held February 13 in Los Angeles, two days before the 2016 Grammys take place.