Pasadena Playhouse Set for English-Mandarin Youth Talent Showcase

The Pasadena Playhouse is launching a youth talent showcase in a bid to increase its community outreach and discover budding performers, particularly from the Asian-American community.

The Los Angeles-area theater community is increasingly aware of the lack of diversity on its stages and in its audiences. The Playhouse’s showcase, which could become an annual event, may help alleviate that.

Beginning Monday, performers can download an application form—in English and Mandarin—from the Playhouse's website. An application fee of $88, which will help fund the program, is required.

The event, which has been dubbed "Junior's Got Talent!," is part of the theater's Wells Fargo Theatrical Diversity Project that's being produced in partnership with Vivian Chan, president of Asian Link Marketing, and sponsor ETTV, a Chinese-language business news channel.

Calling the project a "labor of love," Chan stated: "It is our hope that through this educational journey, these young people will gain experience, and blossom in their own way."

"We are thrilled to partner with ALM and ETTV on this exciting pilot program to highlight the talented youth in our community," Elizabeth Doran, executive director of the Playhouse, said in a statement. "The Pasadena Playhouse is for all members of our community, and we welcome all children and youth in this educational celebration."

Categories for the showcase will be voice, dance, and symphonic instrumentation. Individuals and/or groups of students aged 8-17 are invited to apply for an audition. Applications will be reviewed and selected performers will be invited to an audition Aug. 4 and 11.

The first showcase, which will consist of 36 contestants—12 from each category—is set for Aug. 30. The celebrity judges will then pick 15 contestants (five from each category) to move on to the second showcase, Sept. 8, when a winner will be crowned. The winning finalists from each category will receive a $1,000 college savings bond. Applicants who are selected to audition go into a drawing to win an iPad.

The entire process, from audition to final showcase, will be presented in both English and Mandarin, and will be filmed and edited into a program for distribution within a regional and international television market.