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Celeste Butler returns to her North County roots for a special one-night only performance to benefit the Moonlight Cultural Foundation in Vista. Photo courtesy of Moonlight Cultural Foundation
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Singer returns home for one-night only benefit show

VISTA — One of North County’s own is coming back to her roots to share the stage with one of Broadway’s up-and-coming stars for a one-night only show.

Celeste Butler, a sophomore at USC and former protégé from the Moonlight Youth Theatre program, will team with Megan Hilty in a benefit concert at the Moonlight Amphitheatre Oct. 2 in Vista. Gates open at 7 p.m., while the concert begins at 8 p.m.

Hilty is headlining the event billed as “Megan Hilty Under the Stars,” which benefits the Moonlight Cultural Foundation. Butler will join her for a duet performing “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.”

Toria Watson, the executive director of the Moonlight Cultural Foundation, said Wednesday ticket sales are thriving and the VIP passes are nearly sold out.

This show, she added, is the second part of the foundation’s two fundraising projects to benefit the foundation.

With Hilty, the rising star will perform a cabaret, which is one reason Watson and the board of directors targeted the Broadway performer. Hilty also carries weight with a younger audience thanks to her numerous productions and TV shows.

“Megan hits our demographic of young artists,” Watson said. “Megan has done that (cabaret) and we want to elevate that type of performer. We want a more cultural arts flavor.”

Butler, meanwhile, has steadily built an impressive resume of her own thanks to the youth program. She, along with several Moonlight members, performed with Grammy-award winner John Legend at a charity event for Forte for Children this summer and has also sang for Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men and Kelly Rowand.

The 18-year-old, though, is excited to return to her home stage — a renovated state-of-the-art $11.2 million facility — and put on a show.

“I just want to give back to the community that raised me,” Butler said. “I have not performed on the remodeled stage, so that will be super cool.”

Butler’s path toward the stage began when she was 10 and auditioned for “Peter Pan.” She earned a spot as one of the Indians and from there she knew where her destiny lay.

She grew with the youth program and has created several of her own songs and starred in her own music video, which can be found on YouTube.

But to be part of today’s show, Butler said she reached out to Mike Bradford, the director of arts education at the foundation, and was selected.

Although she will not have much time to rehearse with Hilty, Butler said she expects to get in one or two warm-ups during the sound check. During the show, however, Butler said she will feel the music and follow Hilty’s lead.

Another bonus for Butler, however, is the chance to pick Hilty’s mind about nuances of show business.

“I will definitely pick her brain,” Butler said. I have been following her … will ask how to deal with the industry.”

Some of Hilty’s credits include playing Glinda in “Wicked,” Doralee Rhodes in “9 to 5: The Musical,” and Ivy Lynn on the musical drama TV series “Smash,” which aired on NBC from 2012-13.

Tickets range from $35 to $75. In addition, VIP meet-and-greet tickets are $150.

For information, call (760) 724-2110 or visit