The Lake Region Community Theater will kick off its third edition of the “Lake Region’s Got Talent” competition on Sunday, Jan. 10.

The competition, which starts at 1 p.m., will be held on four consecutive Sundays at the Magic Lantern Theater in Bridgton, where it has been held for the past two years. There are two quarterfinal competitions, where the judge’s vote will determine which of the contestants move on to the next level. At the semifinal and final competitions, the winners are determined by both the judges and the audience’s vote.

“The only thing changing this year is the performers,” said Peter Allen, member of the board of directors of the community theater group. “We’re keeping the same structure because it worked so well (in the past).”

The five judges from 2015 will be returning to judge this year’s competition. Each has “expertise in some aspect of performance, including theater, song and dance,” according to Allen. The judges will give feedback to each performer about their strengths and areas for improvement.

Barbara Stauble, of Gray, is returning for her second year as a judge. She recently performed in a production of “Almost, Maine” at the Lakes Region Community Theater, and was involved in community theater in Portland as a teenager.

Stauble, whose daughter Susie competed in the national Miss America Pageant several years ago, decided to participate again as a judge because she “enjoys seeing the local talent and trying to promote arts in the area.”

“(Performing arts) are an outlet that a lot of people don’t have access to … They are my passion and my outlet, and I’m happy to see young people and old people in the community coming out to support the arts,” Barbara Stauble said.

She added that the event is a good way of “passing the month of January by.”

Christian Martin injected the audience’s soul with rock ‘n’ roll last year when he performed “Steamroller” by James Taylor at the final competition and won. Martin, who sings and plays guitar, said he chose the song because “you can’t go wrong with the blues.”

Last year was Martin’s second time competing in “Lake Region’s Got Talent.” He performed three years ago, at the inaugural event, and came in third place. That made it even more special to come back the next year and win.

“It meant a lot,” Martin said. “It was just awesome.”

Martin is a sophomore at Fryeburg Academy, and although he will not be competing in Lake Region’s Got Talent this year, he continues to perform in the summer months at campgrounds and at the Beef & Ski Restaurant in Bridgton.

This year’s event features 15 young singers and dancers from the Lakes Region area, according to Allen. He is excited for the talent this year, which he said is “all very strong.”

Marissa Morisette of Windham is among the new crop of performers. She took voice lessons last year with Windham’s Janelle Loscuito, which have helped her strengthen her talents.

Morisette is singing “Believe” by Cher. She is excited to sing the song at the competition and “show (the audience) I can make them feel emotion through it. It’s a very powerful song and I want people to see that they can be powerful like Cher.”

Allen said the event – which is a fundraiser for the Lake Region Community Theater – has been “tremendously” successful in the past.

“It’s not only a good fundraiser, but it’s a community builder,” he said. “Getting people in there who are family and friends of the entertainers is really fun. It’s a contest but everybody gets supported along the way.”

Allen is particularly excited to serve as master of ceremonies this year, which he says is a “great bit of fun.” He enjoys talking with the contestants, “making them feel at ease, having a few laughs and letting them perform.”

At the final competition on Jan. 31, Allen said they will also announce the theater’s summer production.

A CLOSER LOOK

Lakes Region Got Talent will be held at the Magic Lantern Theater in Bridgton. The event starts Sunday, Jan. 10 at 1:00 PM and will be held for four consecutive Sundays.

The third annual Lakes Region Got Talent will kick off Sunday, Jan. 10. Christian Martin following the Lakes Region Got Talent competition in 2015. Martin won the competition with “Steamroller” by James Taylor. 


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