Astoria residents may want to get to know Jonathon Dalla now before he hits it big as a star.
The budding TV celebrity wears many hats as an entertainer and has just landed a gig to host Superstar Kids 2000 on Queens Public Television in the fall.
Jonathon, 11, who lives with his mother Aurelia and 3-year-old sister at 18-39 25th St. in Astoria, has been visiting his mother's entertainment and production company, Jade, since he was a little boy. Because his mother is also an entertainer and singer who has studied under legendary singer and voice coach Frank Stewart, Jonathon said he was bitten by the entertainment bug early on.
"I've always liked it," he said. "My mom gave me the idea to do this and I really want to have fun with it. I'm basically the host, but I'll be singing and dancing too."
Jonathon, who just recently graduated with honors from the fifth grade at PS 122, will enter sixth grade in the fall. This is no small feat for the youngster, who was diagnosed with epilepsy last year and occasionally suffers from mild seizures.
He cites as his many influences the boy bands and pop bands that dominate the current billboard charts and the MTV music channel. Among some of his favorites in his compact disc collection are current albums from N'Sync, DMX and Eninem. He and three of his friends have also started a band, Fourth Dimension, and have begun to write and perform their own music.
Ahmad Abuallan, 11, who with his brother Majdaldeen, 9, also sings in the band, has been friendly with Jonathon for five years. He said he has aspirations to be a star as well and most enjoys singing and dancing.
Abel Ouladbrick, another band member who is also 11, said entertaining comes naturally to him, but he still occasionally suffers from stage fright.
"I'm always relaxed when I'm on the stage, but sometimes it's hard to focus," he said. "I just stare out into the audience and make sure I can remember what I'm doing."
Aurelia said the program is a good way of keeping children interested in the arts, keeping them off the streets and away from trouble.
"I'm real happy they're doing this," she said. "Kids these days really need things that they can look up to and forward to. By doing this they can't be out and causing trouble. And it really helps them discover the arts."
Jonathon and his mother have plans to launch a website in the fall and will get the word out locally by printing up fliers to hand out around the neighborhood.
Open auditions are held every Saturday at Aurelia's production studio at 38-01 23rd Ave. Children and interested parties should call (718) 278-6969. If you are lucky enough and talented enough to pass the audition, you might just find yourself sitting on a couch next to Jonathon.
"It feels great to be on TV," he said. "Everyone knows my name."
©2000 Community News Group
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