42nd annual talent show
The Talent Competition and Show provides a professional venue for NYCHA residents to showcase their talents in dance, music, drama and the spoken word. This year’s theme “Going the Distance” reflects the dedication and perseverance of the contestants as they strive to achieve their dreams. The performances are judged by a professional panel of artists in the following age categories: 6–12 years; 13–20 years; 21–54 years and seniors. The competition is the culmination of weeks of auditions and rehearsals. As a small token of appreciation for their hard work and commitment, every participant receives a trophy; the first, second and third-place winners in each category also receive additional trophies/prizes. Additionally, the show features performances by professional guest artists and NYCHA Youth and Senior Chorus.
1st place – Somethin’ Untouchable
2nd place – Melonie Sosa
3rd place – Modesty Devine
1st place – PXI
2nd place – A.S.K.
3rd place – Pride and Legacy
1st place – Tonya Minto
2nd place – Christine Rivera
3rd place – Tina Smith
1st place – George Greene
2nd place – Ronnie Marks
3rd place – James Dickson
See the First Place Winners’ Performances
Juan C. Santiago - Talent Show Director
Mr. Santiago is a consummate theater producer with many credits under his belt, which include directing the riotous comedy musical trilogy “Step Right Up.” Juan’s instinct for discovering talent and developing original material for live theater have created a multitude of hits for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Performing Arts Program. Every production showcases the vast and varied talents of NYCHA residents that range in age from nine to 90.
Over the past five years thousands of residents, family and friends have enjoyed such extravaganzas as the seasonal inter-generational favorite, the Annual Holiday Concert, the exuberant Summer Teen Musical, the uproarious Senior Show, and his current project, the deftly staged, show-stopping 42nd Annual Talent Show Competition. His work ethic and dedication to the creative arts is a commitment to excellence of unparalleled proportions. With the firm belief that “you get what you put in,” Juan demonstrates an uncanny ability of raising the bar and bringing out the best performances in both the amateur cast and professional crew members of each production. By building a strong, supportive team of proven entertainment industry pros he continues to lead the charge to empower, encourage, and enable residents to impress audiences at such sold out venues as the renowned Aaron Davis Hall’s Marion Anderson Theater, John Jay College’s celebrated Gerald W. Lynch Theater, as well as the legendary Apollo Theater stage.
Bob Slade originally dreamed of becoming an actor. He attended Queens College where he studied acting and was a member of the Negro Ensemble and the Harlem YMCA Theater Group. While partaking in his dream to act, he discovered an interest in radio. He began doing news radio in 1971 at a Long Island radio station, and then he proceeded to a radio station in Upstate New York. In 1980, Bob joined t98.7 Kiss FM and became the News Director. Bob’s ability to answer almost any question regarding entertainment, sports, music, past events, and current affairs has made him the 98.7 KISS FM historian. Bob has won two Achievement In Radio Awards; one for the Best Night Time Show, and the other in 1997 for Soul Beginnings. He has also won an Award for Public Affairs; a Peabody Award ; and two Armstrong Awards from Colombia University (one of them was for his documentary on the History of Black music). Additionally he received awards from CEBA, United Press International, and International Radio Festival of New York.
A Broadway veteran, Dana was last seen on Broadway playing Hunyak (“Not Guilty”) in Chicago. Also, she was featured in Fosse (now on DVD). Other outstanding Broadway credits include, A Chorus Line, Sweet Charity, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, On Your Toes, The Will Rogers Follies, How to Succeed in Business…., Singin’ in the Rain, Dangerous Games, Sugar Babies andCopperfield. She has toured with Chicago and Falsettos and appeared in the films, The Producers: The Movie Musical and Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. In New York City, Dana teaches Theatre Dance at Steps on Broadway and is a musical theater faculty member at Marymount Manhattan College. She conducts master classes in cities across the USA and internationally, recently working as teacher and choreographer for the International Dance Intensive in Cyprus, Bardar Dance Institute in Oslo, Tapage Dance Company in Toulouse and the Jazz Musical Theatre Program at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts. Ms. Moore is also a founding company member of Chet Walker’s Walker Dance Company.
Jimique A. Straker (AKA JP Justice)
Jimique A. Straker has been making people laugh for more than 20 years and has established himself as a versatile comedian. His first big break came in 1996 when the world famous Apollo Theater asked him to host their Amateur Night. Jimique then went on to lead a variety of shows to success; including writing comedy for the popular 98.7 Kiss FM’s radio morning show and then creating, co-producing and performing in a weekly variety show called “Wha Da Family”. Since then, Jimique’s stand-up routine has garnered television appearances on Def Comedy Jam, Comic View, Showtime at the Apollo and the Uptown Comedy Club. He has opened for artists such as Chris Rock, Paul Mooney, Bernie Mac, LL Cool J and Tommy Davidson. Jimique has also received an award from HBO’s Comic Relief benefit for his dedication to the homeless.
Lisa Dennett is an actress who has worked primarily in theater here in NYC as well as regionally and in Europe. She is the founder and executive director of Interactive Drama for Education and Awareness in the Schools (I.D.E.A.S.), recognized in 2011 by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for using drama as a teaching and learning tool with students with disabilities. Lisa continues to work as an actress, singer and teaching artist throughout the New York City area. A New Yorker from birth, Ms. Dennett grew up in NYCHA housing in Queens, earned a BA degree in theater from Hunter College, CUNY and a specialized Masters degree from New York University. She has presented numerous workshops throughout the country related to theater arts education and most recently conducted a workshop Dance and Choreography for Non-Dancers at the annual youth theater conference upstate NY. She is founding co-chair of the Arts in Special Education Consortium and is past president of the NYC chapter of the NY State Theater Education Association.