Public Is Invited to MCCC's
"Searching for the Stars" Finale Mar. 14


The community is invited to the final round of MCCC's "Searching for the Stars" talent competition. This last of three rounds takes place Friday, Mar. 14, 7 to 9 p.m., in Kerney Hall at Mercer's James Kerney Campus (JKC), North Broad and Academy Streets in downtown Trenton.

The show will feature a group of six to ten finalists, selected from an original roster of 23 contestants who performed Feb. 29. (That group was pared down to 15 and further reduced in the second round of competition.) The winner is invited to perform at Amateur Night at Harlem's Apollo Theater in late April or early May. In addition to MCCC faculty, judges for the final performance will include Vanessa Rogers from the Apollo.

MCCC staff and faculty participating in "Searching for
the Stars, from left, Theatre Program coordinator
and the show's producer, Jody Person, JKC advisor Terrance Carter and faculty member Donna Hall-Richardson. Pictured, back, is Master of Ceremonies Post Midnight.

MCCC's "Searching for the Stars" was conceived and is produced by Jody Person, coordinator of the MCCC Theatre Program. Open to all Mercer County residents, performers have exhibited diverse talents as singers, dancers, rappers, and musicians. The panel of judges includes MCCC faculty members and staff who specialize in theater and communications. Judging criteria include presentation, substance, originality, and performance execution.

The event involves numerous MCCC students. Students from the MCCC Entertainment Technology Program under the leadership of Asst. Prof. Bob Terrano are creating a theatrical atmosphere for each event with high tech lighting and sound. Students are expected to pull out the stops for the finale. Master of Ceremonies for the performances is popular local entertainer Post Midnight, who has served as MC for MCCC's avant garde Late Night Series since its inception six years ago. Television students will tape the finale and conduct interviews. The show will then be broadcast on Mercer's cable channel, MCTV-26; selected portions will be shown on YouTube.

According to Person, each performer was videotaped in an exit interview following the first round. "I watched a slew of them, and most of them were very moving. It made me feel proud of our work together and glad that we created this event," he said.

For Person, "Searching for the Stars" is a creative way to lay the groundwork for establishing a theatre program at JKC. Over the years, a Fundamentals of Acting course has been taught there. Person envisions more courses and big productions.

"We want to expand the arts at Kerney," Person said. "Through this exciting event, we hope to make more people aware of the opportunities that theater creates. Both the Apollo Theater and the city of Trenton have rich histories and the two seem perfectly matched. There is so much talent here." The Apollo roster has included such legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Dru Hill and Blu Cantrell.

Terrance Carter, JKC student activities adviser/counselor and one of the judges, concurs. "Kerney has never hosted a show of this magnitude before," he said. "The excitement level is huge. There is a tremendous amount of undiscovered talent, a true galaxy of stars in Trenton and Mercer County."

For more information, call (609) 570-3166.

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