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Stephen Cradic of University School is youth talent winner at Niswonger event


GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Stephen Cradic, a University School fifth-grader, was chosen as the winner of this year’s youth talent contest at “{One} Singular Sensational Evening (AGAIN).” The event, hosted and sponsored by the Mountain States Foundation and Consumer Credit Union, was held April 12 at Niswonger Performing Arts Center and benefited Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City.

The production featured performances by Broadway professionals Gary Mauer, David Elder, Elizabeth Southard and Tony Award-winner Beth Leavel, as well as by local youth talent.

“We really had a terrific Broadway cast and it was such a superb performance. It’s a great event for the children’s hospital,” said Cookie McKinney, manager for Children’s Initiatives at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

Cradic is from Johnson City and enjoys singing, dancing and playing with his dog, Summit. He is the son of Sharon and Drew Cradic and has a sister, Frankie.

He has been in several plays at Jonesborough Repertory Theater (JRT). Some of his roles include “Shrek the Musical” as Baby Bear and Young Shrek, a monkey in “The Jungle Book,” and Charlie in “Willie Wonka Jr.” He also played the role of Winthrop in “The Music Man.” He has dreams of one day performing on Broadway.

“I was so surprised and happy,” he said about winning. “Tears filled my eyes. I just couldn’t believe it. It felt amazing. Then I had to get myself together and sing my song. I just wanted to sing the best I could.”

Five featured student performers and 14 ensemble cast members performed at the show. They were chosen through a series of youth auditions

Featured youth performers included: Autumn Crum, Tusculum View Elementary School; Emma Maddux, Nolichucky Elementary School; Hannah Hausman, Science Hill High School; Nicholas Reynolds, Abingdon High School; and Cradic.

The youth ensemble included Alexis Heath, Hunter Elementary School; Catherine Phillips, Ashley Academy; Eli Berney, Greeneville Middle School; Emma Grubbs, Providence Academy; J. Davis Hayman, Science Hill High School; Jackson Beddingfield, Eastview Elementary School; Kailee Amburgey, Jonesborough Middle School; Karis King, Jonesborough Elementary School; Katrina Clark, Central Elementary School; Mary Catherine Morrell, Sullins Academy; Maya Lowery, Emmett Elementary School; Mireille Block, Sullins Academy; Reilly Wild Williams, University School; and Tiffany Reinhardt, Grandview Elementary School.

Also featured in the show was last year’s winner, homeschooler Betsy Nicholson.

“My heartfelt thanks to our kids, their parents, our Broadway stars, our sponsors, our volunteers and all our guests in attendance,” McKinney said. “It was a memorable evening for Niswonger Children’s Hospital!”

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