CONWAY — After having a rock band back in the 80s that “didn’t do much,” Skip Green got another chance at the spotlight on Saturday when the 52-year-old was named the 2012 Conway Superstar.
“I was really shocked,” he said Sunday evening. “When I was just sitting in line waiting to sing I thought about going up there and telling them I wasn’t going to do it. Being the only older person, I felt so out of place.”
Green said he decided to audition at his wife’s suggestion. He said he’d known about Conway Superstar, but thought it was only for young people. He was one of only three adults to participate in the competition of 15 contestants.
When Conway Superstar debuted as Conway Idol in 2005 most contestants were teens and few were adults, said Betty Molnar, the competition’s creator.
A committee narrowed the more than 40 contestants who entered this year’s contest to the 15 that performed Saturday on the park’s stage. Among the finalists were six in the junior category, six in teen and three in adult, according to Chris Adrian, program coordinator for the city. The adult winner gets the Superstar title.
Both younger winners said it was the first time they participated in any type of singing competition.
Maddie Hunt, 11, who won the junior competition, said a man suggested she audition for Conway Superstar after hearing her sing karaoke at Tavern in the Forest.
“It felt great to see my family’s smiles and my friends’ smiles,” she said of winning.
Maddie said she’s participated in pageants for the past year and usually sings if there’s a talent portion – singing “I Will Always Remember You,” a song she wrote, at a state pageant recently.
Teen superstar winner Cora Jackson, 17, also has performed at school and church before, but wanted to push herself by entering the competition.
“I wanted to see what I could do, so I pushed my limits because I have really bad stage fright,” Cora said. “It felt amazing [to win]. I didn’t think I was going to win because all of the girls before me were so good.”
Hughes said the contest is just for singers, but the scope of their work, “runs the gamut” from gospel to country to rock.
Katie Clark, the 2011 Superstar, also performed at Saturday’s show.
Molnar, who served as the city’s tourism director until she retired earlier this year, said she started the contest as a way to highlight how the stage at Riverfront Park could be used. She said that before the beginning of the annual competition the stage had been used mainly for private events such as weddings.
Now, it is a regular venue for talent performances during the city’s many festivals.
Molnar said she only remembers two times the event was rained out. The first time the event was held at the Peanut Warehouse and the second, the following week at the park.
She said attendance at the event has been fairly steady and comprised mainly of friends and families of the performers, but also people who wanted an evening of good music in the open air.
Smith said he’s not sure what all is in store for him as 2012’s Conway Superstar.
“I haven’t heard anything yet. But I’m hoping something will break loose,” he said.
The Theatre of the Republic kicked off its 2012-13 season last weekend with “Damn Yankees,” a musical that the Theatre last tackled about 18 years ago, said Tim McGee, the company’s artistic director.
This season will be different for a couple of reasons, he said. For one, the Theatre will follow up its season debut production with “Sunset Boulevard,” another big musical. McGee said the Theatre usually tries to avoid having two big musicals back-to-back because it can tax the available pool of performers.
The second thing that will make this season memorable is that the Theatre will tackle “August Osage County,” a dark comedy that will be the first non-musical production in two to three years.
McGee said the regular cast members for the annual musical productions tend to be divided among those who primarily like to sing and those who primarily like to dance.
“If you are a dancer, you look for the biggest dance show,” McGee said. “If you’re a singer, you look for the show with the most music.”
He’s thinking some cast members may appear in both of the first two productions this year, but, he surmised, perhaps the lure of such shows will bring new people into the fold.
“Damn Yankees” runs through Sept. 2 and McGee said there are still seats for the Labor Day weekend shows.
McGee said the Theatre’s board and staff meet before each season to see what productions are available and decide which will be staged that year.
It costs between $7,000 and $12,000 to buy the royalties and another $1,000 to $2,500 for a recording of the music to go with the show. The most expensive production the Theatre has done was last year’s staging of “Hairspray,” which cost $25,000 to perform.
Chancel Construction Co. builds all the sets for free.
Ticket prices remain the same $18 per seat, despite the cost of the production, and can be ordered online or purchased over the phone – 488-0821 – or at the Theatre’s administrative offices next to Conway’s Main Street Theater. Tickets may also be available at the door just before any show, but they will cost a couple of bucks more.
Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more people.
McGee said he’s seen the movie of “Damn Yankees,” but never the stage production so he’s enjoying watching it unfold on the stage. He likes the characters: Lola, the singing and dancing baseball players, and, of course, the devil.
Among the best
Crady’s Eclectic Cuisine on Main Street may be getting a kitchen makeover if a cupcake it’s entered in a national contest is judged the best of the best.
Already the cupcake, fresh peach with apple butter cream frosting, has been selected as one of the 30 best in the country and now moves on to the finals of the U.S. Foods’ Next Top Product Competition. Only 30 of 250,000 entries were chosen for the finals, and the cupcake from Crady’s was the only of the finalists from South Carolina. The winner will debut in March as a Chef’s Line product.
The winner will also get $20,000 for a kitchen remodel.
Here’s the good part.
You can vote for a winner on U.S. Foods’ Facebook page, facebook.com/usfoods.
Remember the “Reader’s Digest” contest for the best town in America? People’s clicking and pointing kept Conway among the leaders in that contest.
Can it happen twice?
Maya T. Prabhu, firstname.lastname@example.org, contributed to this story.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.