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Stellar Roster of Celebrity Judges Add to Excitement of Darien’s Got Talent

The Darien Arts Center is moving ahead with preliminary talent auditions for its fund raiser, Darien’s Got Talent which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Darien Town Hall Auditorium, 2 Renshaw Road, Darien
The Darien Arts Center is moving ahead with preliminary talent auditions for its fund raiser, Darien’s Got Talent which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Darien Town Hall Auditorium, 2 Renshaw Road, Darien
With a roster of celebrity judges, the Darien Arts Center's talent auditions are moving ahead. Preliminary judging for DAC's s fundraiser, "Darien's Got Talent," will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Darien Town Hall Auditorium, 2 Renshaw Road.

The finals will take place Saturday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Darien High School auditorium in front of a live audience.

The evening will include 15 finalists, selected from the preliminary auditions. The winner will receive $1,500. A prize of $750 will be given for second place and $500 for third.

"Darien's Got Talent" is a fundraising event for the nonprofit organization, which offers educational programming in dance, visual arts, theatre and music.

Local sponsors for the evening include Baywater Properties, Grove Street Plaza, Halstead Property, Mercedes-Benz of Greenwich, Nielsen’s, Dr. David Osherow, Orthodontist, Palmer’s Market, SBD Kitchen, LLC, and Andrew Stefanou Salon & Spa.

Following are profiles of the judges:

August W. Boehm is an international Bridge professional and author. A classical pianist, he will be performing May 13 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Edwin Schloss won a Tony Award for co-producing the 2010 Broadway revival of "La Cage Aux Folles." During the past 20 years, Schloss has received four Tony nominations for "Grey Garden," "Wonderful Town," "Sweet Charity" and "Buried Child." Schloss resides in Darien with his wife, Maureen, and their two daughters.

John McL. Doelp has worked at all levels of the music industry as a performer, arranger, producer and record company executive. He is senior vice president of A&R operations at Columbia Records/Sony Music entertainment where he works, or has worked with new and established artists such as Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Susan Boyle, John Legend, Harry Connick, Jr., and Ricky Martin. Previously, he was president of Crescent Moon Records, a joint venture with Sony Music entertainment and Emilio and Gloria Estefan.

Barbara Goldsmith’s professional dance career comprises many professional dance companies, including the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. She toured with Theater of the Stars' national tour of "Brigadoon." She competes and sings with Harmony on the Sound, a 15-time North Regional Championship Chorus, serving on the choreography team and leader of the physical warm-up team.

BT McNicholl has directed for the Roundabout Theater Company on Broadway, and served as a child's acting coach on the Oscar-nominated film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He is the director of the current national tour of Spamalot. McNicholl has been a member of the creative team for 12 Broadway plays and musicals with directors Mike Nichols, Sam Mendes, Rob Marshall, David Hare, Stephen Daldry, James Lapine, and Jerry Zaks. He is happy to return to the Engeman, where he directed Lewis J. Stadlen and Chip Zien in last year's hit production of The Sunshine Boys.

Leo B. Meyer a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, and former owner of Atlas Scenic Studios, has designed and built sets for major theatres throughout the U.S. and Canada and for hundreds of plays, ballets, operas, Broadway, national tours and film. A singer and actor, Meyer frequently performs in recitals and with such groups as the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut and Troupers Light Opera Company.

Toni DeCarlo, a longtime dance instructor, has been a choreographer for several of the community theatres in Fairfield County for many years. Beginning her career at the age of 16, she choreographed "Guys and Dolls" for Stage Door for Youth in Stamford. Her many stage credits include "Music Man," "Showboat," "Follies" and "Most Happy Fella."

Ceci Kurzman is president of Nexus Management, the boutique talent representation and consulting company she founded in 2004. As lead executive, Kurzman manages the careers and business development of entertainers, including multiplatinum recording artist Shakira. Prior to founding Nexus, Kurzman was vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Sony Music, where she led international strategy for priority artists including Sade, Tori Amos, Shakira, Macy Gray, and George Michael. Previously, Kurzman was director of special projects at Arista Records, forming ventures between major brands and clients such as Annie Lennox, Sarah McLachlan, and Toni Braxton.

Ted Yudain is a Greenwich native, and is an attorney and an actor. He is a member of the advisory committee of the Connecticut Office on Culture and Tourism, and chairman of the arts committee of the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Yudain's TV work includes "Law & Order," "30 Rock," "The Sopranos" and HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," as well as its upcoming film, "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight." His film work includes "Revolutionary Road," "Enchanted," "College Road Trip" and "The Good Shepherd."

Matthew Poretta is the evening’s MC and is excited to be returning to his native Darien. After attending Manhattan School of Music, he got his start in musical theatre with leads at Candlewood Playhouse and with the Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, Maine. His big break came when cast in the role of Marius in the National tour of "Les Miserables."

Tickets for the fund raiser on June 29 may only be purchased online at arts.darien.org. Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for students and children. Premium seating at $125 includes a ticket to the pre-event reception. A family sponsorship is $500 and includes two adults and three children and tickets to the pre-event reception. For more information, call 203-655-8683 or go to  http://dariensgottalent.net/

Pictured are, from left, Leo B. Meyer, Edwin Schloss, Toni DeCarlo, August W. Boehm, Barbara Goldsmith, and John McL. Doelp.  Not pictured: Ted Yudain, BT McNicholl, Ceci Kurzman, and the evening's MC, Matthew Porretta.
 
Founded in 1975, the Darien Arts Center (DAC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing visual and performing arts programs and events for the community. The DAC offers educational programs in Dance, Visual Arts, Music & Theatre, & special events & live theatre performances by DAC Stage. Private donations, grants, tuition fees & ticket sales fund the DAC. For further information, call (203) 655-8683 or visit arts.darien.org.

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