Licking County News

Fourth Newark's Got Talent showcase will be May 2

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Brad Kittle once again has issued a call for Licking County entertainers.

Kittle said the fourth installment of Newark's Got Talent will be May 2 at the Midland Theatre, 36 N. Park Place in Newark.

Simply put, Newark's Got Talent -- Kittle dubbed this one NGT4 -- is a variety show.

"In the past, we've had singers, clog dancers, break dancers, tumblers, karate demos, Elvis impersonators, comedians, skits and instrumentalists," he said. "The stuff's all over the board."

Kittle said he got the idea to create the talent showcase a few years ago.

"I woke up one day with this thought in my mind: Newark's got talent," Kittle said.

The thought of putting together such a huge production was "scary and intimidating" at first, but, "I decided to roll with it," he said.

Kittle is pastor of evangelism and outreach at Newark's Vineyard Grace Fellowship and comes up with four outreaches per year. He decided to bring an American Idol-style show to Licking County. It was an instant success and it has become so popular that the event packs the Midland Theatre, Kittle said.

"We have packed out the Midland the last two times we hosted the event," Kittle said. "It's a community event that we fund and the admission is free."

Kittle suggested audience members show up early May 2 because seating is general admission.

Kittle said that while admission is free, donations will be accepted.

"We take up donations, but the donations don't even cover the cost of the event. We do this as a community service, really," he said. "I thought it would be a great idea and it has turned out to be a great show.

"In the past, the winners have received cash prizes and trophies and gift cards."

Auditions for Newark's Got Talent will be April 3 and 10.

Kittle said the event can accommodate only so many particular talents, so he suggested those who audition present something truly unusual.

"An unusual talent has a better chance of getting in," he said.

Kittle also said those who try out should keep their material to a "PG" level, meaning edgy is good, but offensive will not be accepted.

Professional entertainers may not try out, but Kittle said will invite some to perform between the amateur acts to add more variety.

"We throw in some acts who don't compete," Kittle said.

He said he has invited former Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett as guest speaker.

"He's turned his life around," Kittle said, adding that Clarett is devoted to public service and mentoring at-risk youth.

Kittle said the judges will include WBNS-10TV news anchor Kurt Ludlow; former Newark's Got Talent winner Andrea Roy; and Carla Sargent of the Licking County Department of Job and Family Services.

Kittle also hopes Newark Mayor Jeff Hall will agree to judge.

Kittle said for now, Newark's Got Talent will be presented every other year to keep it from becoming stale.

He said he tends to "dream big" when creating outreach events and he hopes that like him, talented Licking County residents never give up on their dreams.

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