“Louisville’s Got Talent” raises money for CenterStage Acting Out

“Louisville’s Got Talent” raises money for CenterStage Acting Out

Latts creates event for bar mitzvah project

by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor

Bar and bat mitzvah mark a young person’s entry into the Jewish community. They are now responsible for doing their own mitzvot and working for tikkun olam, the repair of the world.

As part of their preparation for this milestone, most b’nai mitzvah candidates choose to do a major mitzvah project during the year leading up to their celebration. The projects vary widely, developed to work with each child’s interest and motivation.

When it came time for Jake Latts to pick a project, not only did he choose a project tied to his love of the performing arts, but he tapped into his own creativity and energy to develop “Louisville’s Got Talent.” This unique project is an opportunity for performers to showcase their talents to delight and entertain a live audience while raising money for Acting Out, CenterStage’s professional children’s theater company that brings live theater to school children who would not otherwise have that experience.

If you are between the ages of 7 and 18, and you sing, dance, act, play an instrument or have some other talent in the performing arts, Jake is inviting you to open auditions on Sunday, August 25, at 3:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center.  The top 20 performers that day will be invited back for the final live showcase of “Louisville’s Got Talent” on Sunday, September 8 at 2 p.m.

The entry fee is $10 per person, and cash prizes will be awarded: $300 for first place, $150 for second and $75 for third.

The open audition is a closed event, during which judges Jake Latts, CenterStage Artistic Director John Leffert and Jeff Tuvlin, a longtime theater fan and childhood perfomer himself, will select those who will go on to perform at the showcase.

Jake said he, WAVE 3 personality Dawne Gee and a third person, yet to be named, will be the judges at the show case. The audience will also participate in determining the winners. “We’re going to pass out sheets of paper to each person in the audience so they can write their first three choices and have input in the decision,” he said.

Tickets for the showcase are $7 for children and $12 for adults and will go on sale on line at the JCC on August 1.

Jake is actively recruiting performers. He’s sent letters to all youngsters and teens who auditioned for CenterStage, as well as local music and dance schools. He also has distributed posters and flyers about the program. All the information, including the registration form, is available online.

Entry fees and ticket sales are just part of Jake’s fundraising efforts. He is also seeking sponsors. Anyone can be a sponsor, but he’s also encouraging those who are invited to his bar mitzvah to sponsor this showcase.

Show Stopper Supporters, who contribute $250, will receive special acknowledgment during the show, acknowledgment in the event program, eight tickets to the show and their company’s logo/name on the marketing materials.

Rising Star Supports, who contribute $100, will be acknowledged in the event program and receive four tickets to the show.

Fan Club Supporters, who contribute $50, will be acknowledged in the event program, as will those who make donations of any other amount.

In a statement on the “Louisville’s Got Talent” web page, Jake explained, “In honor of my bar mitzvah, I am producing ‘Louisville’s Got Talent’ to raise money to support the operations of CenterStage Acting Out.

CenterStage Acting Out is a program that takes live productions to schools across our city.

“I have developed a passion for the arts,” he continued. “I am very fortunate that throughout my childhood, I have been able to go to many plays and musicals at CenterStage, the Kentucky Center for the Arts, and even all the way in New York City. I want to raise money for Acting Out so other kids can be introduced to the arts and have the same wonderful experiences with theater I have had in my first 13 years of life.”

When Jake first had the idea for a talent show, his first step was to approach John Leffert to see if CenterStage would be interested in helping him co-produce the show. Last summer, the Latts started the process by meeting with Leffert, CenterStage Development and Outreach Manager Lenae Price and Jewish Federation of Louisville Vice President and CFO Stew Bromberg. “They have all been incredibly supportive in the development of the talent show concept, name, marketing materials and fundraising goals,” Kate Latts said.

The Latts also said that Ben Goldenberg and the Marketing Department “have been a huge help designing the flyer and setting up the website.”

In addition to enjoying watching live theater, Jake has also spent some time on stage performing. At Kentucky Country Day, where he attends school, he’s been performing for two years. His credits also include two roles with the Kentucky Opera – a street boy in Carmen and a member of the church choir in Tosca – and two roles with CenterStage – a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz and a member of the children’s chorus in Joseph.

Jake is also an accomplished pianist. He’s been playing for 6-1/2 years and has entered several competitions, including the Kentucky Music Teacher Association’s competition in May 2012, which he won.

His bar mitzvah is September 21 at The Temple.

Jake is the son of Allan and Kate Latts. He has a sister, Lindsey.

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