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Additional Celebrity Judge & Contestant Announced For STEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHT SOIREE & TALENT COMPETITION


The event takes place on Thursday, October 22, 2020 via Zoom.

More celebrity judges have stepped up for a fantastic live virtual event to shine the spotlight on the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids (AOK) Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to allowing children in need to benefit from creative expression, increased self-esteem, improved academic focus, vital sense of belonging, and positive reinforcement through the performing arts.

On Thursday, October 22, 2020 beginning at 5:30 pm, the AOK Foundation will present via Zoom its Step into the Spotlight Soiree & Talent Competition, a fundraiser to assist more children who would not otherwise have the chance to attend a vocal, instrumental, acting, or dance studio for personal instruction. The foundation provides 100% direct funding for up to 11 years to allow children living with financial barriers to take ongoing lessons at local performing arts studios close to their homes. Proceeds from this event will support those students, plus additional AOK Foundation programs.

Thanks to the extensive reach allowed by this year's interactive virtual format, the inspiring October 22 fundraiser will be a nationwide celebration, with select talent from New Jersey, New York, and California appearing before celebrity judges from TV, film, Broadway, and music. A diverse range of accomplished adult contestants auditioned for spots on the virtual stage, where they will vie for the Zzak G. Spotlight Award, the second-place award, and the Audience Choice Award. The evening will also include entertainment by the Zzak G. AOK Performance Group, appearances by families sharing their personal experiences with the organization, and a coast-to-coast sing-along.

Awards and Sponsors

Awards will be presented to key supporters of the Zzak G. AOK Foundation. The AOK Foundation receives assistance through partnerships with performing arts centers, music and dance academies, music studios, musical supply stores, conservatories, theaters, Boys & Girls Clubs, corporations, and community and charitable organizations.


Event attendees may choose from three different ticket options, with the virtual curtain rising on October 22 at 5:30 pm for VIP and Orchestra Level ticketholders who may attend a pre-event reception and at 6:30 pm for Mezzanine Level ticketholders. Backstage and VIP Pass tickets are $120, Orchestra with Stage Door Access tickets are $60, and Mezzanine Viewing tickets are $40. Each level of support comes with various amenities and Zoom links will be provided after purchase. For details and tickets, go to Attendees and supporters may cast their Audience Choice Award votes for $5 per vote, with all proceeds benefiting kids in the AOK program.

Celebrity Judges

Lending their support for this virtual extravaganza event will be a team of popular celebrities, including: The Sharpe Family Singers, a musical TikTok, YouTube, and social media sensation that includes parents and Broadway stars and producers Ron and Barbra Sharpe (Les Miserables, Tale of Two Cities ) and children Samantha, Logan, and twins Aidan and Connor

Kristina Henderson, the reigning 2020 Mrs. New Jersey American in the Mrs. America Pageant

Diane Raver, co-founder of the renowned Garden State Film Festival

Anna Mastroianni, an entrepreneur, stunt person, and actress in numerous films, television series, and Off-Broadway shows

Joanne Nosuchinsky, a popular podcast host, actress, former cable news personality, and Miss New York USA 2013 who will serve as the evening's host

Devin Trey Campbell, best known as Rory on ABC's comedy, Single Parents, and Entertainment Tonight's kid correspondent at the Kids Choice Awards

Ja' Siah Young, who stars as Dion in the Netflix original series Raising Dion

Tony Nation, a singer, actor, and host on Broadway, film, TV, commercials, and voiceovers and partner in New York's Actors Connection

Fredi Walker-Browne, the actress, singer, director, and arts educator best known for creating the role of JoAnne Jefferson in Rent

Ryan Knowles, a longtime actor, singer, comedian, and host for Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tours, television, and film


The lineup of talented contestants for the AOK Spotlight Soiree includes:

Pianist and actor Blake Bergman, actor and musician Jack Davis Griffo, dancer Noah Wang, singer and actress Danielle Brindisi, actress and singer Briana Aponte, singer/songwriter Amanda Conti, dancer Jahliely Salcedo, singer Divinity Montijo, musician Daniel Lipata, singer Julia Scott, vocal group Rudy's Jukebox, rapper and actor Denzel "Zel" Rodriguez, and composer/singer-songwriter Joanna Burns

Partnership Opportunities

Businesses, groups, and individuals can lend support by becoming a partner for the AOK Foundation Spotlight Soiree and Talent Competition. In addition to making a difference in a child's life, sponsorships and digital ads for this spectacular, one-of-a-kind virtual event will put you and your business in the spotlight alongside national talent and celebrity judges with a coast-to-coast audience.

To learn more about the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation and updates on the 2020 Step into the Spotlight Soiree & Talent Competition, please visit Follow the foundation on Facebook at, on Instagram @applaudourkids, and on YouTube at Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation Inc.

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