Local sisters win big – again – in a talent competition at Disney
Averie and Ainsley Newton seem to have the magic touch when it comes to winning duet singing competitions at Walt Disney World. In late February, the sisters were among hundreds of students showing off their dancing, acting, and singing skills at the National Performing Arts Festival, held at Disney. The siblings competed as students of Magic Curtain Productions, a nonprofit community theater for Central Florida youths. Averie and Ainsley earned the Outstanding Duet award for their performance of “In His Eyes” from the musical Jekyll & Hyde.
As a team, the girls appear to be unstoppable. This was the third consecutive year the Newton sisters have won the festival’s Outstanding Duet title.
“We like to do duets because we just find this perfect blend,” Averie says, and Ainsley adds, “’In His Eyes’ was a choice from an underrated show, and it fit our tone really well.”
The girls’ number was so strong that festival judges also tapped them to be one of four acts that were featured in a showcase at Disney Springs the day after the competition ended.
The Oviedo teens also study the performing arts at Hagerty High School, where Averie is a sophomore and Ainsley is a freshman. Both are active in the theater program, and Ainsley is also in choir.
Jamaal Solomon, Hagerty’s director of theater, describes the girls as talented vocalists, dancers, and actresses.
“I truly feel that having siblings in our program only strengthens the stories we are able to tell,” Jamaal says. “Siblings can connect on stage in a different way than other actors can. And, they can come in more rehearsed and prepared because they have that additional support at home.”
Indeed, finding a pitch-perfect sound for the sisters’ festival duet took months of rehearsals at home and with their voice teacher at Magic Curtain. At times, the process was a bit rocky.
“We do get on each other’s nerves – a lot – but that’s because we’re perfectionists,” Averie says. “If we don’t make it perfect, there’s no chance of winning. We’re going to get mad at each other, but we’re never going to stay mad for long because we’re siblings.”
The sisters’ hard work paid off when they were able to experience the déjà vu of winning Outstanding Duet again this year.
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“It was pretty surreal when they called out our names in front of all the other groups,” Ainsley says. “It was a great feeling.”