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posted: 5/21/2014 2:30 PM

Fox Valley Rep looking for Got Talent? contestants

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Submitted by Fox Valley Rep Performing Arts Academy

The Fox Valley Rep Performing Arts Academy welcomes youth who have completed first through 12th grade to apply for the academy's second annual talent contest, "Got Talent?," sponsored by Delnor Express Care. Submissions are due Friday, May 23.

This contest provides young people with the opportunity to not only showcase their abilities, but to pursue their dreams in the performing arts. The youth attain experience in performing up onstage in front of an audience and receive critiques of their performance by casting professionals from some of Chicago's biggest theatres and talent agencies. The contest will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7, on the Pheasant Run Mainstage and is free for the public to attend.

Judge Laura Durham is casting assistant for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, known for producing award-winning plays at Navy Pier, throughout Chicago's schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. After judging great talent at last year's inaugural year, she is back for a second time.

"This competition is a great way for young people to practice doing what they love," Durham says. "Everyone we saw last year was well-trained, confident, and comfortable onstage, and I'm excited to see everyone's hard work."

Other judges include talent agent Jim McCaffrey of Stewart Talent and casting director AJ Links of Paskal Rudnicke Casting.

Contestants are divided into three categories based on grade level. The first category is for youth who have completed first to fourth grade, the second is for youth who have completed fifth to eighth grade, and the third category is for students who have completed ninth to 12th grade. Contestants have the choice between performing a one- to two-minute monologue or a one- to two-minute musical theater song. Participants do not have to be an academy student to apply.

In addition to having the opportunity to possibly be discovered by some Chicago casting professionals, the top three winners receive many prizes. First place includes a value of $500 in prizes including $100 cash, free photo shoot session with Tracy Whiteside Photography, academy class gift certificate, trophy, and tickets to see a Fox Valley Rep Mainstage performance. All non-placing contestants will receive a $25 coupon for an FVR Academy class just for participating.

The Fox Valley Repertory Performing Arts Academy is a nonprofit organization and features some of the Chicago area's most respected teachers, directors, actors and musicians. It is home to more than 1,000 local youth students and offers the most extensive curriculum in the Fox Valley area: classes, camps, workshops, youth ensemble productions, and internship programs. Since 2006, the Performing Arts Academy has had more than 4,200 student enrollments, offered some 300 individual classes in a variety of disciplines and presented more than 20 Youth Ensemble shows on the Pheasant Run Mainstage.

Deadline for the application and $35 nonrefundable fee must be submitted online. Participants' scheduled performance time will be emailed by June 2. For more information, visit