Opportunities Unlimited sets auditions for 14th annual talent show - The Buffalo News

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Opportunities Unlimited sets auditions for 14th annual talent show

NORTH TONAWANDA – Applications are being accepted through Friday for performers for the 14th annual Opportunities Unlimited “Opportunities Got Talent” Show, which will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 in the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St.

Individuals who are 14 or older and have been diagnosed as developmentally disabled are invited to show off their talents.

“There’s no X button here,” said Roxane C. Albond-Buchner, Opportunities Unlimited manager of communications. “It’s not a punitive process, but we really are trying to make this a quality production. The more important thing is for them to raise the bar for themselves.”

She said this is the second year the show will be held at the Riviera.

“Last year we changed the whole concept of the show,” Albond-Buchner said. “We made auditions mandatory and there is also a mandatory dress rehearsal to encourage people trying out to really think about what they are going to do.”

She said this year organizers are really hoping to open the show up to the community of developmentally disabled youth and adults and go beyond their internal recreation programs.

“We want to showcase their talents,” she said, adding that although participants must be 14 to enter, there is no age limit. “We had a man who was 83 in the show last year.”

Individuals may choose from a variety of different performances to showcase their talents, from singing, dancing and reciting a poem to performing karate, a skit or playing an instrument. All talents are welcome.

Acts will be limited to five minutes in duration for an individual performance or eight minutes for a group. Judges will evaluate each act and prizes will be awarded to the top contestants. Everyone who participates will receive a certificate or alternate prize for their efforts.

Opportunities Unlimited has suggested that those individuals who wish to sing should bring their own accompaniment, such as a karaoke CD.

Auditions will be held on Sept. 18 at the agency’s Niagara Falls location at 1555 Fashion Outlet Blvd., at a time to be announced. A dress rehearsal will be held at the Riviera in mid-October.

Applications for auditions already have been handed out at some schools and are available at the Niagara Falls office or can be downloaded at www.opportunitiesunlimited.org. For questions, contact Jim Matteson, recreation manager at Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, at 434-4050, Ext. 448.

The show is open to the public. Admission is $5.

“It’s not cut-throat. Everyone is cheering everybody on,” said Albond-Buchner. “For some parents, they may have not seen their children in recitals growing up, or teens up there on a professional stage in a theatrical performance … There’s not a dry eye in the house.”

She added: “We hope this show breaks down some stereotypes people may have of the people that we serve. One of our parents said it best about his daughter, who is an adult, when he said, ‘The worst thing I ever did was underestimate her.’ ”

email: nfischer@buffnews.com

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