Friday, June 8, 2018


The 38th annual MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT began with a military honor guard salute to the flag and the singing of  a 2 song patriotic medley,"This is My Country & God Bless America". Atlantic City's Mayor Gillian spoke briefly, to welcome everyone to his fair City, and expressed his well wishes to all the contestants.

photos, courtesy Diane Beebe
The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018 is now history, and a winner was named on Wednesday.  A hush fell over the audience as the time drew near to announce the 4 finalists, and finally the QUEEN.  When Suzie Neustadter's name was called the crowd went wild, and Harrahs Concert Venue Theater rocked with cheers and thunderous applause.

Suzie Neustadter, resident of Margate, impressed a distinguished panel of 6 judges, and scored highest in the 4 categories.  A petite woman, Suzie modeld her gowns with grace and elegance, as she walked across the stage with a youthful vitality.  Suzie is a singer, and for the Talent presentation, she sang "Home", from the hit Broadway musical, "The Wiz".  She is a professional singer, and has sung with many famous singers.  Suzie owns a music school in Margate, and is a sought after voice teacher in the area.

QUEEN Suzie poses with the Ladies of her Court.  From left to right are: Jeri Georger/4th Runner-up, tap dancer, fromToms River; Millie Tate/2nd Runner-up, singer, from Linwood; QUEEN Suzie; Debra Canale/1st Runner-up, gymnist, from Medford, and Sheila Jackson/3rd Runner-up, interpretive dancer, from Atco. The QUEEN and her Court will be featured in the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE performances 2018, Statewide tour.

Once again QUEEN Suzie and her Court pose for the papparazzi. They are joined by Johanne Santori/MSNJSA 2006 and NJ STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, on the left, Carolyn Slade Harden/MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, in the middle, and Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, on the right.

Carolyn Slade Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, gave a Farewell Presentation which included a slide show of her appearances during the year, a very powerful, and loving speech, and ended with a tribute to the "Sisterhood" of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, with the poignant song, "I've Got My Sisters", from the hit movie and Broadway musical, "Sister Act".  She also crowned the new QUEEN.

QUEEN Suzie joins the glorious lineage of former STATE and National QUEENS, who date as far back as 1981.  In this photo, the oldest QUEEN is Norma McGhie/MSNJSA 1995.

Many ladies from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO were in attendance, and after the Pageant they came on stage to welcome their new QUEEN and "Sister". 

The Pageant was also a family friendly variety show. The audience was entertained by Jim Craine, otherwise known as Atlantic City's "singing lifeguard".  Jim also served as Master of Ceremonies.  The dance group, "Divas & Dudes", under the direction of Brenda Christian, did a lively rap routine.

  The GRAND DAMES CHORUS, under the direction of Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, sang a medley of songs from the hit Broadway musical "Mama Mia".
The NEW JERSEY STAR DANCERS literally sparkled while they danced.  Their cotumes lit up in psychodelic colored lights, as they danced the disco to "Saturday Night Fever".  

The theme of this year's Pageant, "Walk the Red Carpet", was the brainchild of Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR.  The set design was glitzy and glamorous, the pace was  energetic, and she inspired the contestants to be the best that they could be.  Kudos to Terry on a job well done!

Congratulations to Suzie Neustadter on capturing the crown.  May you enjoy this year of your reign.  May you walk the in the path of the many QUEENS who have gone before you, and continue to bring hope and happiness to all the lives you touch.  Also, all eyes are on you as you prepare yourself for the ultimate prize, the title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2018!