On January 16, forty-two metro area high school acts competed in the semi-final round of the 12th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition. The acts were divided into four categories (vocal, instrumental, dance and specialty) and adjudicated by fifteen St. Louis performing arts professionals, each representing the respective categories. The judges narrowed the field to 14 acts (18 students) who will move on to the finals at the Fabulous Fox Theatre on Friday, February 11 at 8 pm.

The final competition is a professionally produced production the Foundation is grateful to provide as a gift to the community that is FREE and open to the public. General Admission tickets are required and will be available at no charge through Metrotix online at metrotix.com. Finalists include a variety of singers, musicians, dancers, and acrobats (a list of acts can be found here). 

“We couldn’t be happier with the level of talent. The students seem to get better and better each year,” exclaimed Mary Strauss, Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation Board President. 

In addition to the excitement of performing on the Fox Stage, contestants are eligible to win scholarships, prizes, and performance opportunities. Nearly $50,000 in prizes, cash awards and college scholarships will be distributed among the top competitors. A full list of prizes along with official event information can be found on the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation’s (FPACF) website.  

The Finals production will be written and directed by St. Louis native Tony Parise, Broadway actor, dancer, director, choreographer. Parise will work with choreographer Yvonne Meyer Hare and music director Steve Neale to prepare performers for the Fox Stage. 

“I am so grateful to the entire Teen Talent team for keeping the competition going through the pandemic and giving our talented teens this incredible experience. We have learned a lot over the past two years, but this year we will get back to the spectacular live event. I can’t wait to feel that magical energy once again at the Fabulous Fox!” stated Parise. 

Finalist acts will be judged on technical ability, interpretation, stage presence, and originality. Judges for the finals have careers spanning music, dance, and Broadway. A complete list of final round judges is available on the FoxPACF website.  

The community response to this event has been significant as the program has grown over the past twelve years. Annually 120,000+ viewers have watched the Nine PBS featured program on the final competition. Due to the pandemic, in 2020 and 2021 the final competition was filmed in front of a limited audience for a special broadcast on Nine PBS. FoxPACF is grateful for the continued partnership with Nine PBS, which will film the 2022 Finals in front of a full live audience for a special broadcast to air later this spring.

The 2021 winner was Troy Staten, a singer from McCluer High School who will return this year for a special performance. A complete list of winners and finalists from the past eleven years can be found on the FoxPACF website

On Saturday, April 13, fifteen metro area high school acts brought the crowd to their feet when they performed on stage at The Fabulous Fox Theatre in the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition Finals. 

Students competed for more than $40,000 in college scholarships, cash awards and special prizes. A full list of prizes and winners along with official event information can be found on the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation’s (FPACF) website. 

The distinguished panel of judges, performing arts professionals with careers spanning film, TV and Broadway, had the difficult job of judging the acts on interpretation, stage presence, technical ability, and originality.

1st place was awarded to 17-year-old singer and guitarist Joanna Serenko from Kirkwood High School who performed “Valerie.”  Joanna received an $8,000 college scholarship, which is underwritten by Ameren Corporation Charitable Trust.  2nd place and a $6,000 college scholarship went to Samanvita Kasthuri, a 16-year-old from Parkway South High School, for her original Bharatnatyam dance performance “Equal.”  K.O. Duo, 18-year-old seniors Oliver Layher (St. John Vianney) and Kryan Walton (Metro Academic & Classical High School) took the $4,000 scholarship for 3rd place for their hand-to-hand partner acrobatic performance. 

The $1,000 cash Audience Choice Award went to modern/contemporary dancers and seniors Arielle Adams, DessaRae Lampkins, Brooke Reese, and De’Jai Walker from Hazelwood Central High School.

Numerous additional special awards and prizes went to finalists and semi-finalists.  A list of all prize winners can be found at the FPACF website.  The group of 24 finalists will also have the opportunity to perform at a variety of events around the metro area.  2019 public appearances scheduled to date include the The Muny, National Dance Week, Taste of Maplewood, Gateway Grizzlies, Shakespeare Festival, and the Rising Stars Showcase.

Now in its 9th year, the professionally produced show was written and directed by Tony Parise (Broadway actor, dancer, director, choreographer and St. Louis native), with musical direction by Stephen Neale (composer, conductor, pianist), and choreographed by Yvonne Meyer Hare (Professional Dance Center).  The 2018 first place winner, Nicaya Wiley, returned to perform a contemporary dance to “Feeling Good” with a male ensemble from COCA.  

The Finals were recorded by The Nine Network for a special St. Louis Teen Talent Competition program to be aired on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 7 p.m. (with rebroadcasts on May 24 at 2 a.m. and May 26 at 11 a.m.).  This special presentation is supported by Mary Strauss and Webster University, which will provide the opportunity for a broader audience to experience the joy and magic that these aspiring artists bring to the Fox stage.

The 10th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition at The Fabulous Fox will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2020. 

Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation fosters, promotes, and encourages young people in the St. Louis region to discover and participate in the joy and wonder of live performances.

In addition to the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation also produces a variety of other performing arts programs that focus on youth including Kids’ Night at the Fabulous Fox, Broadway Master Classes, Educational Encores, and is a producing partner of the 2nd Annual St. LouisHigh School Musical Theatre Awards.