CEDAR CITY — Cedar City will host its inaugural “Star Search” competition Friday evening, with one dozen performances scheduled to showcase the local talent onstage at the Heritage Theater.
“In times of trouble, we turn to the arts,” Cedar City Event Director Brad Abrams said in a news release announcing the event. “During the recent months of hibernation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the creative arts have offered many a therapeutic outlet. Creative artists worldwide have been honing their techniques and skills to break up the monotony of quarantine. It is no different in Cedar City, and the idea for Cedar City Star Search was hatched with this concept in mind.”
Abrams said the program’s format is loosely based on the popular TV show “Star Search,” hosted by Ed McMahon and which ran from 1983-1995. Taking on the role as Cedar City’s host and master of ceremonies will be local actor Brandon Burke.
The show’s three “celebrity” judges will be Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards, Utah Shakespeare Festival Education Director Michael Bahr and Groovacious Records owner Lisa Cretsinger.
Abrams said the trio were selected to give their expertise, feedback and critique to the participants.
“Music has always been a part of my life,” Cretsinger said in the news release. “My father was a musician. Because of early exposure and constant listening to all types of music everyday nearly all day at my record store … I experience music in a unique way and am grateful to be able to offer my assistance to this event.”
Burke added that he’s looking forward to hosting the program.
“I’m so excited about hosting this event, not only because it’ll be fun to be in a theatre again, but because Cedar is my home, and I know how much energy and talent this little city has,” he said in the release. “The idea of supporting the growth and development of that energy and talent with a community event gives me life.”
Abrams explained that the process began in January, when the city began accepting online applications from Iron County residents who were asked to submit a three- to five-minute YouTube video featuring them performing their specialty.
Narrowing the field of entrants from nearly 50 submissions down to 12 semifinalists wasn’t easy, said Cedar City treasurer Wendy Bonzo, a member of the pool of judges that made the selection process.
“We were incredibly impressed with the talent out there,” she said. “We received videos from vocalists, magicians, poets, dancers, bands, and even a pyrotechnic act (fire breather).”
Friday night’s performers are grouped into four categories. Solo performers will be in one of three age categories: children ages 4-12, teens 13-18, and adults 19 and older. Additionally, there will be a separate category for groups and bands.
The performers will each be competing for the top prize of $250 in their respective categories. In addition, a bonus “audience choice” award will also be handed out, with accompanying trophy and gift certificate.
Lisa Cox, the Heritage Theater’s resident stage manager, elaborated on the lineup.
“We want to mix things up with a variety of acts competing against each other, a vocalist pitted against a dancer and a magician,” Cox said. “It especially makes it exciting in the bands and groups category, when you have Cellomania USA competing against a band called the Foxy Grandpas.”
Several bios and photos of the contestants have already been posted on the Cedar City Events Facebook page, with others scheduled to follow throughout the week as the event draws closer.
Abrams said he hopes the event will become a yearly tradition.
“Every community should have an annual talent show, especially Festival City USA,” hesaid. “Latent talent exists in our community, with many that just need an opportunity to share and to be discovered, and what better way than a feel-good community event?”
Admission to the event is free, but tickets must be reserved ahead of time for COVID-19 contract tracing purposes. Although the venue’s seating capacity for the event was initially capped at 200, it was recently expanded to 400 due to eased restrictions when Iron County moved to a moderate transmission level.
Check here for ticket availability. The event will also be streamed live online.
- What: Cedar City’s inaugural “Star Search” talent competition.
- When: Friday, March 19, 7 p.m.
- Where: Heritage Center Theater, 105 N. 100 East, Cedar City.
- Tickets: Free admission, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Seating is limited due to restrictions. Check here for ticket availability.
- Additional information: Event will be streamed live on Facebook at the Cedar City Events page.
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