McCallum Theatre’s Open Call Talent Project to Start Friday evening

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

PALM DESERT (CNS) – The McCallum Theatre’s Open Call Talent Project, an annual competition featuring local, non-professional artists and groups, will begin Friday in Palm Desert.

The competition starts at 7 p.m. Friday and winners will be announced and celebrated at a final performance Saturday night in the McCallum Theatre, at 73000 Fred Waring Drive. Tickets are available at the theater’s box office and online at

“To have local aspiring artists collaborate, learn and perform on McCallum’s stage and share their work with the larger community is the main goal of Open Call, and we’re thankful for the support we enjoy from our generous sponsors and audience members who help us make this a reality on an annual basis,” the event’s producer and McCallum’s vice president of education Kajsa Thuresson-Frary said in a statement.

There are 62 finalists — community members between 10 and 84 years old — performing solo as as members of a groups. The list includes Katherine Aiken, Joana Ciurash, Aiden Forehand, Lexi Gutierrez, Nathaniel Lizarraga, Isela Mora, Sylvia Quintana, Maverick Risenmay, Ashley Haro Roman, Howard Siden, CJ and Stella Wealand, Dan Westfall, Scott Allan Winter, Elizabeth and Josh Witte, as well as groups such as the Aztec Arts Academy, CK Dance Company, Coachella Valley Youth Ensemble, Desert Ukelele Marching Band, Razzmatapz and Luke Sonderman Band.

“Our ambition is to produce an engaging show that highlights the value of the performing arts, spotlights local residents and inspires a greater sense of community valley-wide,” Thuresson-Frary said.

Applicants had to be at least 8 years old, reside within a 45-mile radius of the theater, not make over 50% of their wages from performing and commit to the schedule posted on the theater’s website. Finalists were chosen after live auditions in February and began rehearsals in mid-March.

Thuresson-Frary said the finalists spent a week together at the McCallum Theatre in early March, getting to know each other and the finale song, “Authenticity.” They returned to the theatre Monday to rehearse the song and to polish their acts before the weekend’s live performances.

“They are an incredible group of individuals and we are fortunate to have each one of them with us on this journey,” Thuresson-Frary added.

A cash stipend will be given to all finalists and they will compete for a grand prize of $5,000, a second place or audience favorite award of $2,500, or the vocal/dance/instrumental/specialty award of $750.

“Whether you are a young student trying to make your parents proud, a college student headed for Broadway, or a senior just enjoying retirement, this is one of the highest honors in the desert,” multi-year finalist Earl Mitchell said in a statement.

More information can be found at

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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