It’s time for the sixth annual Rockwall’s Got Talent, a local talent show that puts the fun in fundraising. The showcase for gifted entertainers is the brainchild of Rockwall Community Playhouse’s Board of Directors.
Rockwall Community Playhouse, which was founded in 1995, is located in a small building on East Rusk Street which was formerly used as a church. The theater has an entertaining season of: musicals, dramas, comedies, children and teen shows each year. Since the auditorium seats just 84 audience members, the experience is intimate, and after each performance, everyone is invited to the stage to visit with the actors. For the past 20 years, the plays have been chosen to suit the small venue. In 2006, RCP launched a capital campaign, and with the help of the community, recently paid off the note on a tract of land they purchased for a new theater complex. Plans are underway to develop a roomier building on Airport Road. The structure will be large enough to seat 300 people and to store props, sets and costumes. There will be plenty of space for parking, and the facility will allow more flexibility in the type of production that can be staged.
One way the board envisioned to raise money for the project is to showcase the best of the town’s performers in a competition with cash prizes of $1000, $500, and $250 donated by local business. The goal is not only to raise money but to shine a light on the gifted population of Rockwall and the surrounding area, as well.
Rockwall’s Got Talent’s 2012 winner, Amber Carrington, had a great time during the process. “It was very cool to meet everyone in the competition,” she remembers. “I was honored to win, because I’ve lived in Rockwall since I was in fourth grade and loved representing my city with what I love to do.” Carrington said that the best thing about participating in the talent show was that it gave her the confidence to pursue singing as a profession. After Rockwall’s Got Talent, Amber competed in NBC’s The Voice Season Four on Adam Levine’s team and was a semi-finalist. She has since moved to Nashville and was honored to sing at the Grand Ole Opry.
Laryssa Bonacquisiti wowed the judges and audience during the 2010 Rockwall’s Got Talent competition with her stunning ventriloquist talents. She went on to becoming Miss Dallas and appeared onstage with Las Vegas ventriloquist, Terry Fator.
Rockwall Community Playhouse board member Darlene Singleton was instrumental in getting the local competition started. She remembers, “While watching one of our auditions for a major musical I casually mentioned to Gary (Freedman) that Rockwall really did have some great talent. That was about 7 years ago and here we are now hosting our 6th Rockwalls Got Talent. Every event has been unique and FUN. Cant wait to see who shows up this year!”
Gary Freedman, The Voice of Rockwall, is an enthusiastic supporter of Rockwall’s Got Talent and often serves as emcee of the show. “It is exciting, as well as rewarding to help inspire talented people. I believe RCP helps instill in them a greater belief in themselves and what they are capable of. I feel pride in being involved in RCP and helping do what we do in the community.”
Deb Ballard shares, “What I like best about Rockwall’s Got Talent is what I like best about auditioning for a show at RCP—the warmth and supportive nature of the people in charge. It takes a lot of nerve to get up on a stage in front of people you don’t know and allow them to judge your talent! But at RCP, everyone knows what that feels like, and we do our best to make everyone feel at ease. We cheer and encourage every entry and the whole process is a lot of fun, not nerve-wracking at all. Creativity brings joy to your life. If you have a talent you want to express, Rockwall’s Got Talent is the perfect springboard.”
The show is truly a community event, because like the television show Dancing with the Stars, at Rockwall’s Got Talent, each audience member votes for his or her favorite act. Then audience votes are combined and considered as one Judge Vote and added to the other judges’ scores. Rockwall Playhouse board member, Darlene Singleton states, “It is exciting for the audience members, since their votes count. So attending the event to support your favorite performer is important!”
Whitney Rosenbalm, suggests the following tips for contestants. “Be original. Some of our favorite winners have talents like ventriloquism—it isn’t just a singing competition. If you do sing and/or dance, be sure to show your personality in your song choice.”
Auditions are being held by appointment at Rockwall High School theater (901 Yellow Jacket, Rockwall) on Saturday, February 14, 2015. Registration is $20 per act, and registration deadline is January 31, 2015.
Semi-Finals will be held Friday, February 27th at 7pm with finals being held Friday, March 6th at 7pm. Tickets are $10 and will go on sale February 1st. Rules and audition applications can be found on-line at www.rockwallcommunityplayhouse.org.
Submitted by Mary Thacker