In celebration of its 130th birthday, the city will host the first Anniston’s Got Talent competition. Auditions begin June 2 at the McClellan Theater, and the final competition will take place July 19 at the Anniston Performing Arts Center. Both events are free to the public.
“It’s a neat opportunity to showcase talent,” said Carol Cleghorn, the marketing services coordinator for the city, who also helped organize the competition. “It’ll give us a chance to show off the talent that’s in our area.”
The competition will feature a variety of acts, including church choirs, magicians, dancers, singers, cheerleaders, bands and stand-up comedians.
“Basically anything that isn’t dangerous or X-rated,” said Kim Dobbs, the director of Anniston’s CAST Theater.
The event is open to anyone, not just Anniston residents. Groups and solo performers are invited to participate, and there are no age restrictions.
“This is a melting pot for a variety of different talent,” Cleghorn said. “We need to be able to bring it out and show it off.”
Applications for auditions can be found at www.annistonsgottalent.com and are due Friday.
A $20 registration fee is required to audition for the event, which will help pay for the judges and prizes.
Contestants will compete for a $1,000 first prize, a $500 second prize and a $250 third prize. Dobbs hopes the chance to win prize money will draw talented performers to the competition.
“Artistry in this town doesn’t get rewarded financially very often,” she said, adding that contestants might not be competing only for prize money. “There’s a rumor that there will be a talent agent or two in the audience.”
The talent scouts are just a rumor, but the competition is set to feature some big-name guests. Miss Alabama 2012, Anna Laura Bryan, will be one of the emcees for the final competition. Judges for the event include Broadway veteran Mary Leigh Stahl, musical director Michael Fauss, songstress Valerie Peyton and Knox Concert Series director Patricia Smith.
“Each one has areas of expertise different from the others,” Dobbs said of the judges, adding that the fifth judge will have dance and gymnastics experience.
Some of the judges will perform on the night of the final competition as well. The event will also feature other national and local performers.
But for Dobbs, Anniston’s Got Talent is more than one night of fun and entertainment. It’s a way for the community to engage with the arts in a different way.
“They’ll get to witness new, fresh talent. They can experience the joy of the performing arts,” she said. “The arts are so vital for a city to thrive.”