The 6th annual Rockwall’s Got Talent competition returns in February, providing a stage for exceptionally gifted individuals in the area.

The event is the capital campaign of the Rockwall Community Playhouse to aid in the creation of a new theater. Currently, RCP is located in an old church on East Rusk Street with a theater seating 84 people.

This has influenced RCP in many ways, including the choice of which plays to perform. However, the limited space has encouraged an intimate atmosphere for the audience — one that encourages the audience to join cast members on the stage once the performance has ended.

RCP hopes that they can grant more people the opportunity to view and experience the plays they love. To do this, they plan on building the new theater on a 7.5-acre plot they own on Airplane Road.

“We hope it will be a state-of-the-art theater,” said RCP Board of Directors member Darlene Singleton. “We hope to seat 300 people and hold events like dinner theaters.”

Singleton came up with the idea of Rockwall’s Got Talent when she was watching auditions for a play. She said she saw multitudes of people auditioning who had different talents — and it was right around the time “America’s Got Talent” premiered.

“I said, ‘Rockwall’s got talent. We should do that.’”

The project came together with help from the entire board of directors. They created an atmosphere very much like one they already had — where the audience felt involved.

During the event, the audience has the opportunity to vote for their favorite talented person. The audience vote counts as a vote — along with three to five judges — to decide the fate of the performer.

However, like the multiple rounds seen on popular television shows, Rockwall’s Got Talent will begin with auditions before continuing on. Unlike the shows that last weeks, Rockwall’s Got Talent will send chosen auditions straight to the semifinal round.

Singleton reported that in previous years the semifinalists have numbered around 40. During the semifinals, that number is halved, sending about 20 onto the finals. Singleton said this is where the audience vote really helps. She encourages performers to tell their friends and family about the event to provide them the opportunity to vote as well as the chance to see the talented performers.

Singleton said she enjoys seeing the talent that crosses the stage, as well as where they progress from there.

“Laryssa Bonacquisiti was our first winner, a ventriloquist,” Singleton said. “She’s gone on to work with Terry Fator in Las Vegas and she just finished her year as Ms. Dallas.”

Singleton’s advice to those who wish to audition is to be prepared. The audition is a performance, too. She said if you are singing a song from the 60s, then dress accordingly.

“The attire needs to fit the performance they are presenting. Be prepared, come and be ready. Let us watch and have a good time.”

Singleton acknowledged that many of the performers are nervous and she hopes the judges come across as nice — stating that having fun is an important component of the process.

Another component is winning. First, second and third place cash prizes are offered — donated by the community.

Auditions begin Feb. 14 and will be held at the Rockwall High School auditorium. Semifinals will be on Feb. 27, followed by finals on March 6. Tickets to the show are $10.

“If you think you have a talent, you probably do. So, you should come out and push it through.”

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