Singers, dancers to vie at talent show


Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Twenty-two adults and children will showcase their talents during an upcoming event in Rocky Mount with a chance to perform at a legendary venue in New York.

Next Level Veterans National Tour Productions in conjunction with Next Level Veterans Day Campus/Treatment Center is hosting the Road to New York Open Call Auditions Talent Competition National Tour, which travels from Maryland to Dallas putting on between 20 to 25 shows each year.  A show featuring the contestants showing off their singing and dancing prowess will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday at the OIC Auditorium at 402 Virginia St.

Admission for the event will be $20 at the door and doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The grand prize for the winners at the weekend show will be an all-expense paid trip to New York and a chance to audition at the World Famous Apollo Theater for Amateur Night at the Apollo. 

The show will be filmed on location and nationally televised through a series of networks, including Launch TV Network and several other global streaming platforms. WHIG-TV is also expected to film the show and broadcast it in the following days after the show takes place.

Last month, open call auditions were held at the OIC Auditorium for children 5 to 17 years old and for adults 18 to 99 years old. The acts were seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Captain Newborn is the executive director of the Next Level Veterans Day Campus/Treatment Center and senior producer of Next Level Veterans National Tour Productions. When it started four years ago, the tour was for veterans and active military members to showcase their talent but has branched out to include the general public during the past two years, he said.

Newborn said the show on Saturday will have local artists from all over North Carolina, including Rocky Mount and the surrounding area, featuring a diverse line-up of contestants singing gospel, R&B, old school, pop, country, hip hop songs and dancers showcasing their moves.

“The talent we found in this area was tremendous,” Newborn said. “The children talent in this show is going to be fierce. We’ve done hundreds of these shows, and I’ve never seen children that can sing like the children that are going to be in this show. We have three children in this show that could win the whole competition at Apollo, and we’re talking about over 4,000 kids from across the country competing.”

The show will resemble the concept of “Showtime at the Apollo.” Newborn said the show travels with an award-winning tour band, which plays the music for all the competing acts. He said the show also will have its own version of “Kiki Shepard,” who was the longtime co-host of “Showtime at the Apollo,” the Get You Off Stage Man, a loud sound system and a national recording artist to bolster the event. 

“This is live competition and the audience decides the winner by either applauding or booing the adult contestants off the stage,” Newborn said.

Newborn said there will be people from different segments of the entertainment industry and talent scouts coming to watch the show. He said children in his shows have been picked up by Tyler Perry, Disney and Nickeloden. Newborn said he envisions coming back to Rocky Mount in the future to put on some bigger shows at the Rocky Mount Event Center. He is counting on the talent show to draw a huge audience.

“I’ve got some bigger shows that I want to do there,” Newborn said. “However, the people in Rocky Mount have to understand if they want entertainment, then we’ve got go get support and get people to come out for this show.”

Editor’s Note: The audition is not guaranteed by the Apollo Theater, which has no affiliation with the Road to New York Open Call Auditions.