Young Talent Big Dreams Finals this Saturday, May 4

Young Talent Big Dreams Finals this Saturday, May 4

Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, together with presenting sponsor The Children's Trust, announces the ninth annual Young Talent Big Dreams finals, the most widespread, local FREE youth talent competition in Miami-Dade County. Kids ages 8-17 have again been invited to showcase their talents on a professional stage and compete for prizes ranging from performing arts scholarships to cash awards to performance opportunities, as well as tickets to local cultural attractions and theatres. For the fourth consecutive year, the grand prize winner will receive a free trip - airfare, hotel and passes for two - to attend the live Teen Choice Awards, courtesy of WSVN 7News, along with $500 in cash.

The competition features six individual categories including pop/rock/rap vocals, musical theatre/jazz standards/classical vocals, dance, musical instrument, original spoken word and original vocal and/or instrumental composition. Categories for groups of six or fewer members include dance, musical instrument/bands and vocal groups. Participation in the competition is free of charge and open to residents of Miami-Dade County. Auditions began on March 10; semifinals took place April 27 and April 28. A maximum of nine winners and one grand prize winner will be chosen during the finals.

Young Talent Big Dreams is modeled after reality TV talent shows that offer similar opportunities to contestants through a series of auditions, performances and professional mentoring. Judges include a host of local celebrities and professionals from Miami's performing arts community; this year's finals judges are David Arisco, artistic director, Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre; Rodester Brandon, conductor and artistic director, Miami Wind Symphony; Howard Cohen, features writer, the Miami Herald; Natalie Lewis-Schere, co-founder and executive director, PATH; and Andrea Solis, professional dancer and founder of Thrive Dance Enrichment Program.

"It is very exciting to be celebrating the ninth year of this outstanding opportunity for young performers," says Barbara S. Stein, executive producing director of Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. "The competition keeps growing with outstanding talent, and the feedback that we have received from the community - that the program inspires young people and develops artist careers - is extremely gratifying."

"One of the things that makes this competition so unique is the professional mentoring and support provided by the judges," says James R. Haj, Children's Trust president and CEO. "Each year, a diverse and dedicated group of individuals commits their time and experience to our performers, and we've seen what a positive impact that makes on these children and their dreams."

On-camera and in-person interviews available pre- and post-show with Actors' Playhouse, The Children's Trust, judges, and contestants and their parents.

About Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre

Founded by Dr. Lawrence E. Stein, and under the leadership of Executive Producing Director Barbara S. Stein and Artistic Director David Arisco, Actors' Playhouse is an award-winning nonprofit regional professional theatre company celebrating 30 years of excellence. Located in the historic Miracle Theatre on Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables, Actors' Playhouse is a Florida Presenting Cultural Organization and one of 14 major cultural institutions in Miami-Dade County. The company produces five Mainstage and five professional Children's Theatre productions annually, a year-round Theatre Conservatory and Summer Camp Program, educational arts outreach programs, and the Young Talent Big Dreams countywide youth talent contest in partnership with The Children's Trust. www.actorsplayhouse.org

About 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. www.thechildrenstrust.org

Photo Caption: Dynasty Step Team competes at the Young Talent Big Dreams Finals. Photo by Gregory F. Reed.



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