Talent Show Benefits MIRA
BY MARY ELLE HUNTER
Special to The Pilot
If there was any doubt that the Sandhills has more than its share of talented individuals, look no further than the stage of Southern Pines' Sunrise Theater tonight (Friday, Feb. 15).
The second annual talent show, which begins at 8 p.m., is put on as a fundraiser for MIRA Foundation USA, the organization with its national headquarters in Aberdeen which provides guide dogs for young people
"'Sandhills Has Talent' was so much fun last year," says a spokesperson for MIRA Foundation USA, "we thought it was an event well worth repeating. We learned a lot from producing the inaugural show and, therefore, decided this year to turn it over to someone with a lot of experience in live productions. MIRA is thrilled to have Cinny Beggs at the helm this year, and we are looking forward to being as delightfully surprised as all of the other guests when Cinny introduces this year's great -talent on the night of the -performance."
Beggs is, of course, no stranger to Sandhills theatrical enterprises, having been the executive producer and the motivating force behind Moore OnStage for seven years.
Her background covers every aspect of putting on a show. From acting to directing to running the light board to costuming to working the box office, she has done it all.
For Moore OnStage she was instrumental in the presentation of an amazing variety of musical theater, comedy and drama, producing shows such as "The Buddy Holly Story," "Oklahoma!", "Evita," "Doubt" and "Master Class."
Together with Sarah Edwards and Wendy Heitman, Beggs held two auditions and a number of "call-backs" to come up with 17 talented and diverse performers who will appear in the competition.
Describing the range of talents that showed up for the auditions, Beggs says, "We had artists from singer-songwriters to guitar players to comedians to a jump rope group to dancers to a classic rock band with an age span of the performers from 11 years old to 70-plus. Everyone had something to offer, and I only wish that I could have put absolutely everyone in the show, but it would have been four or five hours long!"
Judging the performers are Rita Taylor of Taylor Dance, and Michael Jones and Rebecca Jones, all with a wealth of theatrical experience in their own right.
Beggs also comments that there is going to be a new twist to the judging process this year, with the audience getting a chance to cast their votes by text-ing. She also mentions that there will be four prizes awarded - first , second and third places for cash awards, and a fourth prize for the best "Emerging Artist."
JR Schrimpsher, the rappin' cowboy who delighted last year's audience, is a repeat performer, as is the Jus' Right Bluegrass Band.
Among the newer entrants is a young actor, Justin John, who is going to do two monologues; and Britton Buchanan, a Sanford resident singing a rendition of "Georgia," who wowed audiences in the recent performance of "Hairspray."
Another repeat performer in this year's show is Samantha Duerring. Although not a contestant, she will provide entertainment while the votes are counted by singing a favorite selection.
This is Duerring's way of "giving back" and expressing her gratitude to MIRA, which provided her with a guide dog more than a year ago. The show's proceeds will help other blind children get a dog. It is estimated that each dog requires an investment of $60,000, which includes training, travel and ongoing support.
Backstage talent includes Tim Waesche, stage manager; Lester Seidenberg, sound and lighting design; and Christine MacRoberts, lights. Beggs will act as the mistress of ceremonies.
Sponsoring the second annual "Sandhills Has Talent" are Leith McBrayer Chrysler Dodge Jeep; Botanicals (Carol and Beth Dowd); Southern Pines Chiropractic (Dr. Joseph D. Walsh); and Elliott's on Linden.
Tickets are $15 open seating at the Sunrise Theater and can be purchased at The Country Bookshop, in Southern Pines, Green Gate Olive Oils, in Pinehurst, Sandhills Winery, in Seven Lakes, the MIRA office at 112 Poplar St., in Aberdeen, or at the theater box office on Feb. 15 starting at 5:30 p.m.
Call MIRA at (910) 944-7757 for more information.
Contact freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at email@example.com.
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