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Archive for Thursday, June 4, 1998

THE WINNER OF THE TALENT SHOW WILL BE GOING TO HOLLYWOOD.

June 4, 1998

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A trip to Hollywood for an appearance on a major network drama series is among the prizes on the line in the name of fun and funds during Kansas University's FROTH Follies.

Friends of the Theatre is putting on the talent contest at 8 p.m. Friday in Crafton-Preyer Theatre at Murphy Hall to raise funds for a new sound system for University Theatre.

The second prize is a chorus role in University Theatre's production of ``Oklahoma,'' and the third-place winner receives two season tickets to University Theatre's Main Stage series.

``(The trip is) a great opportunity,'' said Jack Wright, director of the show. ``You always hope that will be a factor (in attracting more talent), and I think it did. I'm looking forward to a wonderful evening.''

``It should be a lot of entertainment, and a lot of fun, and it's certainly for a good cause,'' said emcee Kip Niven.

Hollywood hope

The grand prize was made possible because of a connection between KU and James Conway, vice president of Spelling Entertainment. Conway's wife, Rebecca, is a KU alumna and last spring the couple attended Alums Come Home III to speak to students and participate in various workshops.

``We just decided to ask him if we could get a spot on a show,'' said Kathy Pryor, producer of FROTH Follies. ``He wrote us a letter back and said yes.''

Conway's agreement set up a grand prize of a walk-on role on the winner's choice of three Spelling productions, ``Beverly Hills 90210,'' ``Melrose Place'' or ``Seventh Heaven.''

A walk-on is a very minor role, but the most attractive part of the prize to many of the contestants is the free trip to Hollywood. Besides, says Pryor, who's to say a small part couldn't be parlayed into something more?

``It can provide an opportunity,'' she said. ``You never know when someone would catch a director's eye.''

Good opportunity

It is up to four judges to determine which of the performers is worthy of the prizes. The panel includes Paul Hough, Heather Laird, Janet Riley and State Representative Barbara Ballard.

Ballard was a music major in her collegiate days, and when not passing bills she likes to sing.

"I'm supportive of the arts," she said. "It will be a hard time having to decide who should get the prizes."

The chance to be on one of the shows certainly piqued some of the contestants' interests, but that's not the only reason for participation.

``The trip would be a lot of fun,'' said Janna Ziegler, a KU graduate student in theater who will sing ``Wherever He Ain't.'' ``But I'm sure there are a lot of good people in it, and I'm doing it mainly for fun.''

The opportunity to perform is also what attracted Kirsten Paludan, who earned an English degree from KU in 1996. She will ``I Remember.''

``Of course I'd love to win, but I'm also doing it because I love to perform,'' she said. ``I've never done anything like this, like a talent show.''

For Sara Buxton, who just graduated from Lawrence High School and will study music at Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn., in the fall, the opportunity to be on one of the shows had nothing to do with her decision to perform. She will perform ``Country Song.''

``I don't watch `Beverly Hills 90210','' she said. ``It'd be neat to go, but I just wanted to do it because the more times you perform, the more experience you get.''

As far as prizes go, it's the trip or bust for Morgan Loveland, a Lawrence High alumna and now a junior at Indiana University, who will sing ``I'll Forget You.''

``That would be really neat if I could go, of course, because it would be fun, but also because the other two prizes I couldn't use,'' she said of the role in ``Oklahoma'' and the season tickets.

Loveland is home for the summer and singing at Macaroni Grill in Kansas City, Mo.

Entertainment between acts the Chuck Berg Band, Ric Averill, Troupe Raghsidad, Classic Edition, KU theater alumni performing ``You Light Up My Life.''

``It's quite a good mix,'' Niven, who will perform ``Cellophane Man,'' said. ``It certainly looks like an intriguing line of talent; there's some professionals and a lot of students.''

There's five former Lawrence High students in the show and two current Free State students, something that attracted Ryan Hamlin, a member of the Class of `95 who will sing ``You Took Advantage of Me.''

``That's what's going to make it so fun,'' he said. ``There will be a lot of people I haven't seen in a while and a lot of people I've never performed with.''

-- The Mag's phone message number is 832-7146. Send e-mail to jbiles@ljworld.com.

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