EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — For the local stars of the full-length movie "Standing Ovation," the exuberant reception they received at their red carpet premiere Friday at the Towne 16 Stadium theater matched the excitement of seeing themselves on the big screen.
The "Standing Ovation" bus with their images plastered on it sat outside the theater as their limousines pulled up.
Sal Dupree, of Dupree Performing Arts Studio in Linwood; Brooke Erin Feldman, 13, of Margate; Xavier Jackson, 16, of Atlantic City; and Austin Powell, 16, and Alexis Biesiada, 13, both of Egg Harbor Township, stepped out and were greeted with camera flashes, hugs and requests for autographs by dozens of well-wishers inside the theater.
"It's amazing. I knew going in that this would be my favorite premiere, and I was right," said Powell, who also attended premieres in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
"Standing Ovation" is an independent, PG-rated musical, that opened Friday in more than 600 movie theaters nationwide.
The picture, which showcases local children in large and small roles, was filmed in 2008 and last year in Atlantic City, Margate, Somers Point, Ocean City, Marmora, Cape May Court House, Wildwood and Cape May.
Red carpet premieres also were held Friday for the movie in Ocean City, Rio Grande and Vineland, where different stars appeared. Parties were held after the screenings at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City and other area locations.
The family film follows the journey of five friends who come from nothing but are chasing dreams of becoming champions in the biggest television music video contest of the year as the singing and dancing group the 5 Ovations. It includes 20 original songs and 13 never-before-seen dance routines.
"I think it's a great experience for everybody," said Jackson after walking the makeshift red carpet inside the Towne that extended from the front door to the ticket-taker booth.
The female stars who arrived at the Towne, Biesiada and Feldman, went all out for the red carpet appearance.
Biesiada, who is one of the 5 Ovations in the movie, wore a purple party dress. Feldman, who sings the opening song, "Bring It to the World," selected a sleeveless, silver and black metallic sequined dress.
"I love it. It's great. It's fabulous arriving in a limo," Feldman said as she signed autographs before the movie started.
Powell, who plays the brother of one of the Ovations, received a great deal of attention during the premiere. He is one of the older members of the young cast and one of the few male lead characters. In the film, the members of the competing singing quintets, the 5 Ovations and the Wiggies, are all girls. After the movie started, he was still in the lobby signing autographs, taking pictures and shaking hands.
"You see all the faces you have seen all your life. It's really exciting," Powell said.
More than 500 people sold out the two showings of the movie at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Towne. Posters, postcards, and CD samplers sat on a counter lobby as freebies for all those who stopped by. Some children waiting to see the stars of the film attended earlier screenings that day.
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