Macon natives make it on the small screen

Rising starlet appears on NBC’s Smash, high school student competes on Jeopardy

In the past year, the city of Macon has made its mark on the public entertainment sphere.
Serving as a popular set venue for several feature films, Macon has made its entertainment debut.
Recently, however, individual Macon natives have successfully stepped into the world of performance and made their own mark.
One of the most recent rising stars has made a name for herself on Broadway and just appeared on the NBC hit show, Smash.
Sasha Hutchings, a Central High School graduate, grew up studying dance at Dance Dynamics in Macon under the direction of Mrs. Pam Mielarczyk.
As she approached high school graduation, Hutchings realized she never wanted to stop performing.
She continued her studies and earned a degree in dance performance from Oklahoma City University in 2011.
Dancing has been a passion of hers since she was a little girl, and she sought out her performance dreams, treating dance as a sport and working towards her goals.
Her hard work paid off when she made her first Broadway debut last year in the Tony-Award winning production of Memphis the Musical.
As her career has progressed, Hutchings’ resume has stretched from the main stage to the television screen.
After Memphis came to a close, she moved on to auditions for her next job.
Her auditions included Smash and Motown the Musical, and she succeeded in being cast in both.
Hutchings commented on the reality of the drama in Smash, portraying the struggles of an up-and-coming performing trying to make it on Broadway.
“My first goal upon moving to New York in 2011 was to work in music theatre and make it into a Broadway show. TV/film is a new experience for me and very different from stage, but it is something I definitely plan to continue to pursue,” said Hutchings.
During her work on the set, Hutchings had the opportunity to work with guest star and American Idol contestant, Jennifer Hudson.
Hutchings performed various dancing and singing roles in the Smash episode, including a dance in Hudson’s number, “Mamma Makes Three.”
Hutchings said her time on set was “an opportunity to meet and work with some amazingly talented people. I very much enjoyed working on the show.”
In her next production, Sasha will be an ensemble member of Motown the Musical.
Hutchings said, “I am looking forward to the opening of the show on April 14. Working on the creation of this new musical by Berry Gordy is a once in a lifetime experience.”
Her advice to the aspiring performer is to “maintain a gracious, open, and generous spirit that is willing to learn and ready to share. Such a disposition will help you stay positive in the face of adversity as well as truly appreciate your successes.”
Another Macon native that has made it to the screen is also a representative of Central High School.
Kelton Ellis won $24,000 after competing in the Jeopardy Teen Tournament in Los Angeles on Jan. 30.
This victory earned Ellis a spot in the semi-finals on Feb. 7.
Ellis competed against another Middle Georgia native, William Crouch, from Northside High School in Warner Robins. Howeveer, neither made it to the finals.
Only 15 high school students were chosen from across the country to compete, two of which came from the Macon area.
From Broadway to public television, Macon has been climbing the entertainment ladder and producing successful and talented individuals representing Middle Georgia.