The Philadelphia suburbs have always been full of young talent- superstar Pink, musician Christina Perri, American Idol contestant Justin Guarini, Lauren O’Keefe from the girl group Jada, and even the Emmy-award winning director of Food Inc., Robert Kenner, to name just a few. Is there something in the water? Great local-genes?
While there is no magic formula for succeeding in the entertainment business, there are certainly some huge stepping stones young performers can take and the Philadelphia suburbs are full of them. One such stepping stone is Cutting Edge Entertainment, a group of talented and interactive entertainers that have been injecting excitement and energy into events in the Philadelphia region for years. Celebrities like Justin Guarini got their start learning the ins and outs of show business by working at Cutting Edge.
“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 Guarini
So what is so special about Cutting Edge you ask? Owner & director, Craig Sumsky, is self-described as “obsessed” with the success of events. He searches all over the area to hire only the best talent. Motion Picture actors, American Idol contestants, Pro-Bowl cheerleaders, professional dancers, Hollywood voice talent, major label recording artists and accomplished DJs all began their careers there.
In addition, he does something that many people in the entertainment business struggle to do- he LISTENS. On the Cutting Edge blog, Craig tells stories of panicked brides who have found Cutting Edge only after a negative experience with another entertainment company who refuses to listen to their specific requests. Cutting Edge’s entertainment packages- which include anything from DJs to lighting to dancers- is all about what the client wants. Craig explains the best practices of a successful DJ, “Today, with music so readily available there is very little chance of not being able to find that special request. The wedding couple get to have whatever they want.”
Former Eagles Pro-bowl cheerleader and Cutting Edge dancer, Monica Devlin, recalls how difficult it was to find opportunities for aspiring dancers prior to the days of Google and Facebook sharing, “When you were looking for a part time job, you had only word of mouth and the newspaper to rely on. A little box in the local classifieds beckoned, ‘Dancer Auditions’.”
Luckily, her parents saw the listing for Cutting Edge Entertainment and pointed her in the direction that led to the career in entertainment she had always wanted.
“Being a Cutting Edge dancer got me started on the right foot to working a room, starting a conversation with anyone and everyone, and exhibiting my enthusiasm unabashedly and with vigor! That helps when you’re entertaining 65,000 fans in a stadium or securing a client signing a check for a big sale. As a marketing and PR professional full time now, the skills I learned as a CE dancer come into play. Make people feel comfortable, genuinely enjoy the interaction (and they will too!), satisfactory communication, and…most all -have fun!” – Monica Devlin, former Philadelphia Eagles Pro-Bowl Cheerleader
With the entertainment industry on a whole being infamously cut-throat, it is wonderful that local singers and dancers can start their careers at a place that nurtures their talent and teaches them the tools to succeed. We can’t wait to see the next star that comes from Cutting Edge’s talent pool! Until then, we count ourselves lucky to watch them inspire the community at events all around the Philadelphia region. Check out more information below about what makes Cutting Edge Entertainment so, well, so cutting edge!
BH: What is the most rewarding part of being in the entertainment business?
CE: That’s a very simple answer. My job is to make things fun… What could be more fun than that?
BH: Working with young entertainers, how do you teach them the importance of the dedication & professionalism that makes Cutting Edge so successful?
CE: Drill, drill, drill. Whether it be our cast/dance team who rehearse on a regular basis, or our DJ staff who – for almost twenty years now – dedicate hours to training in the office, and trial by fire in a long apprenticeship. We teach the simple philosophy, which we admittedly stole from Yoda in Star Wars, “There is do or do not… there is no try”. Our staff is made up of ‘doers’.
BH: What is your favorite memory from Cutting Edge? Your greatest accomplishment?
CE: Although a decade old, my favorite memory was coming home from Australia after about a month’s vacation – where I had literally been cut off from American pop-culture – and coming home to newsstands filled with Justin Guarini’s image on magazine covers like People and Entertainment Weekly. In a months time American Idol had become the #1 Show on television, and a few days after returning home I was whisked off to Hollywood. That was a crazy ride.
BH: What type of Wedding, Bat Mitzvah, and other party trends do you see taking shape in 2011?
CE: The hottest trend right now is up lighting. It’s an inexpensive (relatively speaking) way to transform the look and feel of a room, and we use only L.E.D. fixtures, which are both environmentally friendly, and create no ambient heat in rooms where people are already dancing and sweating.
BH: There are so many talented young entertainers in our area! Who are you looking for to work at Cutting Edge?
CE: We are looking for people-people, or rather, people who like people and are comfortable being in the spotlight while being comfortable striking up a conversation with a total stranger and making them feel good about themselves. Of course, the ability to dance is a big plus, and a love of music and parties is paramount, but in the end, it’s really nice people with some fun skills who love making people happy. Incidentally, we are alwys auditioning guys and gals for our dance company between the ages of fourteen to twenty five, so if this describes you, give us a call!
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