When NBC aired Second Chance: Search for America’s Most Talented Senior in prime time on June 1, 2003 it highlighted the growing field of senior theatre. The national broadcast and a recent TIME Magazine article are bringing acclaim to the largely undiscovered and growing field.
“Second Chance,” which was the brainchild of NBC President, Jerry Zucker, is the result of nationwide auditions that produced over 1300 contestants. The nine finalists traveled to Burbank’s NBC studio for their chance to make it big–a desire which was even more important than the $25,000 prize destined for the winner. They represent the many mature singers, dancers and actors who entertain all around the country.
Senior theatre has been called “one of the fastest growing forms of the performing arts,” by Bonnie L. Vorenberg, expert and author of Senior Theatre Connections: The First Directory of Senior Theatre Performing Groups, Professionals and Resources. The concept has mushroomed into a full-fledged movement with over 400 companies in the US alone. Vorenberg says, “the new generation of seniors are healthy, well educated and familiar with the benefits and joys of senior theatre. They’ve discovered the magic of being on stage.”
The movement holds many opportunities for seniors who have not yet ventured on or back stage. As Bonnie likes to say, “Whatever your passion, there’s a place for you. It is low cost, doesn’t require memorization, and is wildly popular. Most of the performing companies are very busy because senior audiences are clamoring for entertainment that speaks to them.”
Second Chance features singers, dancers and performers including Christine Gentry from Florence AL, Larry Scott from Monkton MD, Vivian Smallwood from Mission Hills CA, Cordell Jackson from Memphis TN, Jelsa Palao from Valley Village CA, Lambus Dean and Jerome Robinson from Las Vegas NV, Mary Allen from Carrollton TX, Nian Cadman Dake from Phoenix AZ, Al Raitano from Cave Creek AZ, and The Forever Young Dancers from Scottsdale AZ.
Hedda Muskat, Senior Coordinating Producer for the NBC show says, “This is the best project I’ve worked on in my 22 years of television. These talented individuals prove that you should never stop performing.”
ArtAge Publications President, Bonnie Vorenberg, helped make the “Second Chance” show into a success. Click here to read the story.