HOPEDALE – The Hope Players are asking area residents to be a part of the Players’ first-ever variety show. An organizational meeting will be held at Harrison East Elementary School in Hopedale from 12 noon until 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 11.

The variety show will be held on Saturday September 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the school. Participants in the show also must be available for a single rehearsal, to be held on Saturday, September 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In previous years, the Hope Players sponsored an annual talent competition, but a decision was made to change the format to a variety show this year. Instead of having three judges decide prizewinners, a total of four hundred dollars in cash prizes will be awarded by means of a random drawing. A single, hundred-dollar cash prize and six, fifty-dollar cash prizes will be awarded, along with gift certificates donated by area merchants. All participants will receive a prize.

Hope Players executive director Andrew Pelegreen III explained that the decision to change the format from a talent contest to a variety show was made in response to past experiences with the talent show. “It became harder and harder to find judges with no connection to any contestants,” Pelegreen said. “The prizes will remain the same, but the pressure of competition will be removed, creating a more relaxed atmosphere for our performers,” Pelegreen added.

The variety show is open to family-friendly acts of all types and participants of all ages. “Any area resident of any age with a well-prepared act involving singing, dancing, comedy, or any other talent suitable for a family audience is welcome to participate in the show,” Pelegreen said. The purpose of the meeting on September 11 is “…to see what kind of talented people we have so we can schedule them within the show for the audience’s maximum enjoyment,” he said. Pelegreen went on to say that singers and dancers should bring a pre-recorded accompaniment for their act or their own accompanist. The same goes for novelty acts requiring accompaniment. Participants may be asked to choose alternate music for the show if two or more people want to utilize the same music. Pelegreen reported that those unable to audition at the scheduled time may send him a DVD or VHS recording of their act. All by-mail submissions must be received by September 11. The address is: Andrew Pelegreen III, P.O. Box 45, Hopedale, OH 43976-0045. Anyone with questions about the variety show should direct them to Pelegreen at 740-937-2629.