NEPA Scene Rising Talent had its most exciting week yet on Tuesday, Oct. 10, opening with a special performance by SUZE singer Adam McKinley and packing the place with both performers and engaged audience members both in person and on the Facebook Live stream.
Week 4 of the open mic and talent contest brought a wide variety of performers to The V-Spot in Scranton, including acoustic, rock, and country artists; comedians of all ages and styles with personal stories and sock puppets; and even a hula hoop dancer. Comedian Dan Hoppel, a longtime audience favorite, won the audience vote with a brutally honest and funny set of self-deprecating humor and jabs at everything from religion to ordering fast food.
The lineup became so full that the event ran later than usual, but managed to maintain a majority of the crowd who experienced the most unique Tuesday night found anywhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Week 4 performers:
Comedy: Mike Nemitoff, John Paul Scanlan, Elliott Elliott, Tyler Dibenedetto, Thomas the Red, Ted Hebert, George Polemitis, Dan Hoppel, Ray Meoni, and Bryan Walsh
Music: Adam McKinley, John Moncivais, Years of Madness, Chris Hludzik, Operation Fishbowl, Joe Craig, The Feels, John Kresse, Kyle Demko, Matthew DePrimo, William Leepier, DeeKey, and Katie, Candi, and Shiny
Hoppel 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.
by Rich Howells
Rich is an award-winning journalist, longtime blogger, photographer, and podcast host. He is the founder and editor of NEPA Scene.