Seniors can showcase their talents at United Neighborhoods Centers of NEPA’s Seniors Got Talent show on Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m. at People’s Security Bank Theatre at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St., Scranton.
The first half of the show will feature a scored competition and the second half will include professional performances of a few selections from the musical “Nunsense.”
United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA’s Active Older Adult program was recognized this year by the National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) with a 2018 programs of excellence award. Seniors Got Talent was recognized as a runner up in the fundraising category. It was one of 15 programs honored with the annual award from 80 applications throughout the United States.
“The show was started and is still a means to honor and celebrate the many talents of the older adults in our community,” said Laurie Fleming, director of the Active Older Adult program.
“It began to coincide with National Older Adult month that is celebrated in May, but due to many scheduling conflicts, we moved it to April in anticipation of Older Adult Month.
“Many older adults have such wonderful talent, and are so passionate about their talents, that this gives them the opportunity to showcase their talents on a professional stage and in a professional manner for us to all enjoy.”
Contestants are age 55 or older and live in Northeast Pennsylvania. Individuals or groups can participate with any talent including singing, dancing, comedy, dramatic readings, juggling, poetry reading, musical performances and more. The committee chooses 10 acts to compete for the cash prizes which include $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third. All are given participation medals and the top three also receive trophies.
The audience members can vote for their favorites by paying a dollar for each vote and stuffing a box with dollar bills. The audience choice award is given two tickets to see a show from the Broadway Theatre League and dinner for two at the POSH at The Scranton Club.
Clarks Summit native Justin Sochovka, who now resides in West Chester, will judge the show for the second year. He is an on-air guest specializing in consumer electronics for QVC, QVC2 and the Shopping Channel.
“I was asked to be a judge last year and loved it,” Sochovka said. “I’m thrilled they asked me to come back. There is so much time and effort put into the show and getting to see it unfold the day of is really special. It’s never easy getting up on stage in front of a crowd of people at any age, so seeing the seniors get up there, give it their all and really have fun showing off their talent is a real treat.”
Sochovka graduated from Abington Heights High School in 2010. While there, he played the snare drum in the marching band, was on the mock trial team and worked with the football team to edit and create highlight tapes for the players to send to colleges for recruitment.
He is a 2014 graduate of West Chester University with a degree in communications.
Other judges for the event are Stacy Lange from WNEP and Frankie Warren of Magic 93. The producer is Tony Nicosia and emcee is Evie Raflako McNulty. Rose Broderick spearheads the committee.
Tickets for the event can be purchased for $15 in advance by calling 570-346-0759 or online at uncepa.org or $20 at the door.
“The show is one that can be enjoyed by those of all ages,” said Fleming. “The talent is timeless and can be appreciated by all. Ages have ranged from 60 years old to 95-year-olds and you would be hard pressed to pick out the 95-year-old.”
“I’d encourage people to come to the show,” said Sochovka. “It’s a really great family-friendly event and a great way to spend the afternoon. I’m looking forward to coming back home to NEPA for the event.”
Funds raised at the event will support the programs of the four facilities the United Neighborhood Centers operates and the opportunity to offer new programs.