Last August, La Bella Pizza Bistro on Main Street made a few talented kids’ dreams come true by giving them a place to perform.
The “Shooting for the Starzz” talent show was held inside the pizzeria, where children ages 18 and under were able to perform in any medium they wished: singing, acting, dancing and even reciting poetry.
The idea for the talent show came from 10-year-old Jamishay Cammann, who has been featured on Broadway and is pursuing modeling.
After moving here from Connecticut, where this type of talent show is common, Cammann had been living in New Paltz for five months without a performance venue, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Cammann and her mother, Shaydie Cammann, approached Maria Lisanti, owner of La Bella and pitched the idea. Lisanti respondedly positively and the show was given the green light.
“This is a great environment for kids to show their talent. It’s a family place,” Lisanti said. “It’s a local place where people can feel comfortable and do some great stuff.”
Shaydie said one of her main concerns was making sure she reached all the talent New Paltz has to offer.
“Kids wanted to perform who have never performed before,” Shaydie said.
The overall goal of the talent show was to showcase kids’ talents and bring out any hidden ones potential performers hadn’t been able to cultivate before due to lack of funding, performance spaces or even groups to perform with, Shaydie said.
The registration process entailed kids choosing their type of performance and contacting Shaydie. Unless adults were joining in as part of their kids’ acts, they were members of the audience.
One important component of the talent show was that it provided kids with the space to perform without harsh outside judgement, Shaydie said.
“There is a lot for kids involved with sports,” Shaydie said. “But not a lot for arts as young children — not all kids want to go out for sports.”
Shaydie said it is important to give children with a passion for performance an area where they can share that passion with similar kids.
The next show will be held at La Bella on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and will be Halloween-themed.