MCCC To Host its Own "Searching for the Stars"

Reposted: 2/25/08

Watch out Randy, Paula and Simon. In February and March, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will host "Searching for the Stars," a showcase of talent in the spirit of American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and MCCC's very own Late Night Series.

  • Due to inclement weather on Feb. 22, the first round of the competition is now set for Friday, Feb. 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Performers should arrive at 6 p.m. to sign in. This round will take place in front of an audience in Kerney Hall on the James Kearny Campus.

  • The second round of the competition is now set for Friday, Mar. 7, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Performers should arrive at 6:30 p.m. to sign in. This round of the competition take place in front of the judges only.

  • The third round of the competition remains the same: Mar. 14, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Performers should arrive at 6:30pm to sign in. This is the grand finale where guest judges from the Apollo Theatre will help select the winner of the competition.

The winner or winning group of Mercer's "Searching for the Stars" will be among the featured performers on Amateur Night at the famed Apollo Theater in New York City's Harlem, scheduled for this spring. The challenge for local performers is to impress a panel of MCCC judges - faculty and staff - who in their own unique styles will offer constructive feedback. Mercer County residents must be 18 or over to compete in all genres. Contestants will be judged on presentation, substance, originality, and performance execution. (MCCC faculty, staff and employees who are not students are not eligible to compete).

Since 1934, aspiring artists and performers have graced the Apollo's stage. MCCC's lucky star will join the roster of Wednesday night Apollo alumni that includes such greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Dru Hill and Blu Cantrell.

For Jody Person, theatre program coordinator at MCCC and show coordinator, "Searching for the Stars" is a creative way to build upon the idea he and other theatre/communications faculty had to establish a theatre program at Mercer's James Kerney Campus. Over the years, a Fundamentals of Acting course (Theatre 104) has been taught at Kerney. Person envisions big productions and more courses.

"We want to introduce the arts to Kerney with a big bang," said Person. "In order to make more people aware of the opportunities that theater creates, this is an exciting way to present our message. After many e-mails and phone calls, the Apollo agreed to invite our winning performer to display his/her talents. Both the Apollo and Trenton have rich histories and the two seemed perfectly matched. There is so much talent here."

Terrance Carter, student activities adviser and counselor at JKC, concurs. "Kerney has never hosted a show of this magnitude before," he said. "The excitement level will be huge once people hear about it. There is a tremendous amount of undiscovered talent, a true galaxy of stars in Trenton and Mercer County."

Audition sign-ups will take place Thursday, Feb. 14; Friday, Feb. 15; and Monday through Friday, Feb. 18 to 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Activities Office, Room 160, on the West Windsor Campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road, and in the Student Services Office, Room 209, at JKC. Information packets with guidelines will be distributed to all individuals who sign up. (Applications may be returned up until the day of the first audition on Feb. 22.)

Performances on Feb. 29 and March 14 are free and open to the public. Limited parking is available in college lots on a first come, first-served basis. For more information e-mail

Directions to MCCC's West Windsor Campus

Directions to MCCC's James Kerney Campus

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