Singers, musicians, dancers, comedians, and performers of all ages will compete Saturday at the "2013 Hernando/Pasco Talent Contest" grand finale at 7:30 p.m. at Pasco-Hernando Community College in New Port Richey.
All performers have a maximum of four minutes to show their stuff and wow the audience and judges, where they will be judged on originality, stage presence, quality, and ability to perform the talent.
Dwindled down from 100 preliminary auditions, only 15 acts get a chance to compete for three cash prizes at the grand finale.
Along with trophies, the first place winner will receive $500, second place will receive $300, and third place will receive $200.
Marcia Gilbert, PHCC Foundation manager of foundation financial operations, said, "I know that many aspiring performers and their families and mentors take this very seriously. We strive to give everyone recognition for their talents on stage and provide entertainment at the same time. We hope that this will be an enduring community collaboration."
Two local Broadway stars are among the judges for the talent contest, Jimmy Ferraro and Dee Etta Rowe.
Ferraro made his Broadway debut in the 1981 revival of the "Fiddler on the Roof" musical. Ferraro has since produced and directed many plays across the country.
Ferraro won first place at the 1992 Miami Opera Vocal Competition. He has been featured with the Tampa Bay Opera, Lyric Opera San Diego and the Gold Coast Opera.
In 2012, he received a "Best Actor in a Musical" award from BroadwayWorld.com for his lead role as "Tevye" in the 2012 National Tour of "Fiddler on the Roof". He also is a contributing editor/theatre critic for BroadwayWorld.com for the Tampa Bay region.
Rowe made her Broadway debut in the 1979 revival of "The Most Happy Fella" musical, directed by Jack O'Brien. She was an original cast member in the role of Olga Von Sturm in the Tony Award winning Broadway musical "Nine" from 1982-1984, directed by Tommy Tune.
For the past eight years, Rowe has toured all over the country, playing the role of "Iowa Housewife" and "Earth Mother" in the national tour of "Menopause the Musical".
Rowe, who is married to Ferraro in real life, also recently performed with her husband as "Golde", the wife of "Tevye" in the 2012 National Tour of "Fiddler on the Roof".
Ferraro and Rowe co-host their own radio talk show together, "Theatre Chat and This 'n' That", on WWJB AM1450 in Brooksville on Wednesdays, where they interview celebrities as well as local prominent entertainers.
"We are both veterans in show business for over 40 years. We love to perform, whether it is for 10 or 1,000 people in the audience. We were blessed with these talents and we celebrate the joy of performing. That is a great reward. As teachers and directors, we are passing our knowledge along to others and that's what it is all about", said Ferraro.
For someone just starting off in theatre and dreaming of a career in show business, such as some of those who will be performing in the talent show at PHCC, Ferraro gives these words of advice, "Being in show business is a 24/7 business. You have got to love it to be successful. One day it is champagne and caviar, and the next day it's pretzels and beer. If you want it for your career, you have to be married to it and you cannot let anything distract you from your goal. Keep up with your lessons. Nowadays, you have to be a triple threat as a singer, actor, and dancer. And most of all, never quit."
To be a successful performer, Ferraro said that it takes "talent and perseverance".
The 2013 Hernando/Pasco Talent Contest will be held at Pasco-Hernando Community College's West Campus Performing Arts Center, located at 10230 Ridge Rd., in New Port Richey.
Admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at any of the four PHCC College stores, located at the Brooksville, Spring Hill, Dade City, and New Port Richey campuses until 4:30 p.m. today, or at the box office tomorrow night before the finale.
For more info, visit www.phcc.edu/talent.
Hernando Today correspondent Heather Francis can be reached at toheatherfrancis (at) gmail.com.