Jackson's Got Talent

In a British accent, fifth-grader Frances Reid belts out a song from the Broadway musical “Matilda,” winning the Judges’ Choice award at the 2018 Jackson’s Got Talent. The local talent show that benefits the Teton Literacy Center returns Friday evening to the Pink Garter Theatre.

Last month the call went out for Jackson’s only talent show: Jackson’s Got Talent.

The submissions came in, video by video, and on Friday this year’s finalists are set to debut their talents and, it’s hoped, help the Teton Literacy Center surpass last year’s milestone of raising over $84,000 to support the nonprofit’s programming.

Returning for its sixth year, Jackson’s Got Talent will take over the Pink Garter Theatre for a cabaret-style affair. As a premiere benefit for the Literacy Center, the show features the gifts of youth and seasoned adults alike to raise money for nonprofit’s many free services.

“Talent is open to all,” Executive Director Laura Soltau said.

The ages of the musicians, singers and other talents span 40 years.

“We encourage submissions and varieties for all ages,” Soltau said.

Jackson Hole High School veteran performer Bella Gwilliam will open this year’s show. Another perennial, the Rick Springsteen Band, is set to return. Last year’s elementary and middle school band, Rainbow Mist, will also take the stage again, and a new-to-the-area performer, Tim Knecht, will share his Western folk style.

Debbie Schlinger, a Literacy Center tutor and board member who tap-danced in the show last year, said Jackson’s Got Talent is a great match for the community and the center because both benefit.

The audience gets to “see adorable and surprising acts from children and adults who truly surprise us with their courage and skills,” Schlinger said. Their night of entertainment — and the funds it raises — supports a nonprofit that, in turn, supports families with tutoring and preschool, after-school and summer programming focused on English-language literacy, “all of which are invaluable for the growth of student’s confidence and school success.”

Outside Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities, Jackson’s Got Talent is one of the primary fundraisers for the Literacy Center, which works with over 400 students each year, including parents.

“We provide free literacy services to help close the achievement gap,” Soltau said.

This year’s iteration of Jackson’s Got Talent will feature nine acts in the main show inside the Pink Garter Theatre and one preshow act inside The Rose, featuring Jordan Lutz, known to many for singing the national anthem at local rodeo and at the Jackson stop of the Professional Bull Riders tour.

The winner of the Judge’s Choice Award will be chosen by a panel made up of Mark “Fish” Fishman, Libby Crews Wood and Gavin Fine. Tony Horton of P90X is set to return as the master of ceremonies for the event.

The competitors will also have the opportunity to receive “fast passes” to audition for the national TV show “America’s Got Talent.”

For information on this year’s acts and to cast your vote, visit JacksonsGotTalent.org and select the “vote” tab for bios of the performers.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. Friday for the preshow, dinner and cocktails in The Rose. The main show will begin at 7 p.m. in the theater.

Tickets cost $50 for kids under 12, $100 for general admission, $600 for a table of four and $1,200 for a table of eight. They also include a buffet dinner catered by The Rose, dessert, wine and beer and a photo booth station. 

Contact Tibby Plasse via 732-7062 or entertainment@jhnewsandguide.com.

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