After two years and four seasons of NEPA Scene’s Got Talent wrapped up in the fall of 2016, our unique open mic and talent took a break for almost a year before it was relaunched last week as NEPA Scene Rising Talent at The V-Spot in Scranton on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Week 1 of the 12-week series brought in fan favorites and winners of previous seasons as well as some new faces. From solo bass to harmonica-driven blues to raunchy jokes to Irish folk music, there was a good mix of entertainment to introduce to the new venue and the Facebook Live stream. In the end, closing comedian Angelia Petrillo won the audience vote for her hilarious personal stories and lively stage presence.
One highlight was seeing two singer/songwriters with different musical styles, John Kresse and Mickey Spain, meet at the event and become instant friends, even joining each other on stage at the end of the night for a song. That’s really what these events are all about – bringing people and the Northeastern Pennsylvania arts scene together and making moments happen that probably wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.
Week 1 performers:
Comedy: Ted Hebert, Ray Meoni, Brian Thomas, Zack Hammond, Kevin Brosius, and Angelia Petrillo
Music: Grant Williams, John Kresse, Emmitt, Joe Craig, and Mickey Spain
Petrillo won $50 in cash, provided by Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, and a slot in the Finals Showcase on Dec. 19, where the 12 winners from 12 consecutive weeks will compete in front of a panel of judges for the grand prize – $250 cash and a “staycation” prize package with ski passes, concert tickets, and more from Samuel Adams and LT Verrastro, Inc.; 10 hours of professional recording studio time at SI Studios in Old Forge; and a guest spot on an episode of the NEPA Scene Podcast. The second place winner will receive $100 cash.
Hosted by NEPA Scene and sponsored by Sam Adams, LT Verrastro, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, SI Studios, and The V-Spot (906 Providence Rd., Scranton), NEPA Scene Rising Talent takes the format of an open mic night and turns it into a friendly competition. This free weekly event gives up-and-coming and established local musicians, comedians, poets, actors, performance artists, magicians, dancers, and more the chance to showcase their talents and meet other artists while rewarding the best standout acts with prizes and publicity.
The event runs every Tuesday from Sept. 19 through Dec. 5; sign-ups start at 6:30 p.m., and the open mic begins at 7 p.m. Every act gets 8-10 minutes of stage time. At the end of each night, audiences who have enjoyed the show will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite act. The weekly winner will receive $50 in cash from Fireball, the headlining slot on the following Tuesday, and a feature on nepascene.com; all other performers are encouraged to compete again as often as they’d like or simply show off their talents for fun. (Artists must be 18 or older, and those who are 18-20 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Parents or legal guardians with an 18, 19, or 20-year-old must provide valid IDs for both parent and child in order to enter the venue.)
Everyone participating will be featured in photos and videos weekly on NEPA Scene, and parts of each night will be live streamed on Facebook. Samuel Adams will serve $3.25 pints and have merchandise giveaways each week for audience members.
Learn more about Angelia Petrillo and local stand-up comedy in Episode 25 of the NEPA Scene Podcast:
by Rich Howells
Rich is an award-winning journalist, longtime blogger, practicing poet, adequate photographer, and podcast co-host. He is the founder and editor of NEPA Scene.