Young Talent Big Dreams Semifinals and Finals 4/21-22/12

Young Talent Big Dreams Semifinals & Finals
Saturday, April 21 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 3 p.m.
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre
280 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL

April 28 at 8 p.m.
Actors’ Playhouse Kids Fest Family Weekend.

Semifinals & Finals Open to the Public, Tickets Available for $10

Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, together with presenting sponsor, The Children’s Trust, will culminate Young Talent Big Dreams, the most widespread local youth talent contest in Miami-Dade County history, with the semifinal and final competitions for student performers ages 8-17.

The competition features a total of eight categories: individual song, dance, original spoken word and musical instrument; and group categories (six or fewer members): show choir, dance, vocal/instrumental and instrumental. Over six months, hundreds of contestants attended the seven auditions held in distinct neighborhoods throughout the county. Participation was free, but limited to residents of Miami-Dade County. In each category, participants compete for prizes ranging from free master classes with industry leaders and performing opportunities, to cash awards, and tickets to local attractions and professional performances.

A special grand prize also will be awarded to the overall winner: a recording studio session and professionally produced song for each act with the renowned multi-award winning producer and musician Paul Fakhourie, who has produced Eric Clapton; Stephen, Damian and Ziggy Marley; and Lauryn Hill, just to name a few. Fakhourie’s production and musical arrangement contributed to the success of the album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which garnered 10 Grammy nominations and won five Grammy Awards.

The grand prize winner also will receive $500 cash; individual first place winners receive $200; and group winners with two in a group $150 each. Groups with six members receive a cash prize of $50 per member.

Semifinals and finals take place before a live audience. Each act was allotted up to one minute during their audition performance and will be given two minutes for the semifinal and final-round performance. Contestants in each performance category from each audition location will compete in the semifinals, and three contestants in each category in the semifinals will advance to the finals. A winner in each category and an overall winner will ultimately be selected.

“The semifinals and finals are not to be missed! The shows are fantastic, and the talent is outstanding,” said Modesto E. Abety-Gutierrez, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Actors’ Playhouse once again on a project that brings so much opportunity to these talented youths and that unites so many volunteers behind the goal of helping children fulfill their dreams.”

Young Talent Big Dreams follows the popular TV talent show model. Judges have included a host of industry professionals from the performing arts community. Semifinal judges for April 21 include: Actors’ Playhouse Artistic Director David Arisco, Avery Sommers, Corky Dozier and Jeanette Hopkins. Judges for the semifinals on April 22 are: Charles Reskin, Dito Sudito and Robert Smith. The judges for the finals on April 28 will be: Milton Granger, Howard Cohen, Daniel Lewis, Jodie Langel and Nerissa Street.

“Actors’ Playhouse is proud to have initiated Young Talent Big Dreams, in partnership with The Children’s Trust, to help develop young talent in Miami-Dade County,” said Barbara S. Stein, Actors’ Playhouse executive producing director. “The arts are critical components to a well-rounded individual, both educationally and culturally, and arts programs develop character, self-confidence, and skills as much as the three R’s in traditional learning experiences.”

Actors’ Playhouse is the nonprofit resident theatre company and managing agent of the historic Miracle Theatre on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. Actors’ Playhouse, which has brought home 70 regional Carbonell Awards for artistic excellence, is a Florida Presenting Cultural Organization and one of 22 major cultural institutions in Miami-Dade County. In addition to its Mainstage season, Actors’ Playhouse offers a year-round season of Musical Theatre for Young Audiences, a National Children’s Theatre Festival, a Theatre Conservatory and Summer Camp Program, as well as educational arts outreach programs for underserved youth, and has initiated a Young Talent Big Dreams contest for children in partnership with The Children’s Trust.

The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.
Winners will have the privilege of attending master classes with the following industry professionals:

· Barbara “Babs” Flaten (dance master class) – Flaten has received four Carbonell Awards for her work on The King and I, Joseph…Dreamcoat, Aida and West Side Story. She was has worked with Actors’ Playhouse’s David Arisco for more than 21 years and has also collaborated with the Caldwell Theatre Company, GableStage, Maui Performing Arts, just to name a few and has directed an array of works. Flaten has traveled the world choreographing on for 10 years with Cunard, Silver Seas, Regency and Premiere Cruise Lines. Dancing since the age of three her career on stage began with The Milwaukee Ballet under the direction of her mentor, Sir Basil Thompson, the Omaha Ballet, the Scottish- American Ballet and with Carnevale a Venenzia in Italy. She has also trained with the legendary Luigi in NYC and with Colin Donaldson (Ballroom Dancing) in London, England. She is a member of AEA and SDC.

· Jeanette Hopkins (vocal master class) – An author, composer & professional vocal coach, Hopkins’ love of singing and vocal coaching started after training with Dr. Claire T. McElfresh in the Cleveland Heights High Choir, then majored in music composition and vocal technique at Ohio University where she performed original songs around campus and decided to leave for Los Angeles to pursue a singing career which lead to writing series and main title themes and jingles and then vocal coaching young hopefuls who shared her same dream. Her works include “Funny Man” a syndicated children series, “Multiple Personalities” a musical revue performed in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. She Produced, directed and wrote original music for the Mrs. Florida America Pageant for CBS, “Bombshells!” a musical that world premiered at Actors’ Playhouse and is currently writing original songs for film and television.

· Earl Maulding (acting master class) – Maulding has been with Actors’ Playhouse since 1988 and handles all the artistic and educational aspects for the Theatre for Young Audiences. He founded and directs the “Musical Miracles”, a youth repertory company that has performed throughout South Florida. Musical Miracles Earl formed a unique partnership with the City of Miami Programs for Person’s with Disabilities to encourage the performance of able-bodied and disabled performers alongside each other in a semi-annual production which he writes an original script for as well. Former actors and students of his have performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in National Tours, International Tours, major Regional Theatres and populate some of the finest Elementary, Secondary and University drama programs in the nation. Also an author and lyricist his own original and adapted musical works for young audiences have been received with rave reviews.

· Manny Perez (vocal master class) – Music has always been a part of Perez’s life, from the Latin rhythms of his native Cuba to the world of opera and classical music that he became immersed in as an adolescent. During his studies at the University of Miami as a full scholarship student, he joined the opera chorus of the Greater Miami Opera, performing alongside his idols Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Perez has discovered, presented in concerts and taught some of the best operatic vocal talent coming out of Miami today, in addition to having a thriving vocal studio in New York City. Many of his students are pursuing national and international opera careers and have graced the stages of major theatres throughout the world. Perez is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Grand Opera. His awards include the “Ace Award” for Excellence in Business and Education and the Fourth Edition Prize “Premio Garza” for his extraordinary teaching ability of Operatic voices in the International opera scene.

· Avery Sommers (vocal master class) – The Carbonell Award-winning actress appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award winner, Ain’t Misbehavin’, when she replaced Nell Carter and in Showboat as Queenie. On National tour she appeared in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas as Jewel with Ann-Margret and in Chicago as Matron Mama Morton with Joel Grey and Chita Rivera. On the concert stage she has been heard as a soloist with the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and in Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall with the Mable Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention. Sommers has appeared in eight independent films since 2007 and was nominated for and won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Immigration Tango in the Angel Film’s International Film Festival in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Avery recently appeared at the Miracle Theatre in Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle for which she has been nominated for a Carbonell Award.

· Steinway & Sons Gallery Coral Gables (music master class) – Providing unmatched expertise and dedication to the finest service for music lovers, teachers, students, and the community at large, Steinway Piano Gallery Coral Gables is proud to represent Steinway & Sons throughout the greater Miami-Dade County. With its beautiful 6,000 square-foot showroom including a 90-seat performance space, Steinway Piano Gallery Coral Gables is home to the largest selection of Steinway and Steinway-designed instruments, the Boston and Essex pianos, in Southern Florida.

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