More than 100 acts from all over Pasco County auditioned, but only 28 were chosen to be in Ticket to Broadway, a talent competition with $1,000 in U.S. savings bonds and thousands more in college scholarships for Pasco's public high school students.
The show is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Richey Suncoast Theatre, which co-sponsors the event with the Pasco Education Foundation.
"We have singing groups, dancing groups, flute players, solos, duets, monologues, excerpts from plays — you name it," said Charlie Skelton, president of the Richey Suncoast board and a lead organizer.
One act will feature Jeffrey Oles and Chris Cavalier doing What Causes That from the musical Crazy for You. A week ago, the duo won a superior rating for the number at the annual Florida State Thespian Festival in Tampa, which made them eligible to enter the International Thespian Competition at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in June. Oles has the lead role in Richey Suncoast's upcoming musical Footloose May 13-30.
Ticket to Broadway made its debut in 2004, when $1,500 was raised and three $500 scholarships awarded. Since then, it's grown in popularity with entrants and audiences and in revenue, raising more than $30,000 in ticket sales and sponsorships over its six-year history, Skelton said.
A panel of three local judges will select the winners of the savings bonds on performance night, based solely on talent. In addition, the audience will make a "people's choice" selection.
Later, the theater board will decide scholarship winners from among those who plan to major in the performing arts in college, based on grades, talent and other criteria.
"Two-tier systems, we think, cover everyone," Skelton said.
Former winners have included frequent Richey Suncoast actors Jesslyn Koustopoulos (Polly in Crazy for You; Charity in Sweet Charity; Penny in Honk!) and Ereka Passarella (Shelby in Steel Magnolias; Grace in Fame; Angel in Anything Goes; stepsister in Cinderella), who are majoring in performing arts at the University of South Florida.
In past years, some entrants and winners have made their stage debuts at the talent contest, Skelton said.