March 01, 2001

Opportunity is knocking at the door for the nation’s most talented amateur kids. McDonald’s and the Inner City Theater Group (producers of It’s Showtime At The Apollo TV show) are hosting the fourth annual McDonald’s Presents "It’s Showtime at the Apollo" Kids’ Talent Search. Eighteen acts from across the country will win a trip to New York to perform on the hit TV show It’s Showtime at the Apollo and will qualify for a chance to appear in a national McDonald’s TV commercial and McDonald’s print advertisement. In addition, first place winners will receive a home computer system and software package.

Parents, with kids between the ages of 5 and 12, can enter their children in the national talent search by one of two ways. They can submit audio or videotape of their children’s act or they can enter them to compete in front of a live audience at one of 12 local contests. The 12 local contests will be held in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Greenville, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Memphis, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Seattle. Rudy Rush, star of TV’s It’s Showtime at the Apollo, will host the local contests.

Entry forms for the local contests are available at participating McDonald’s restaurants in the host cities. National talent search entry forms can be found in April issues of Ebony, Heart & Soul and Honey magazines. National entry forms are also available in June issues of Essence, Family Digest, Upscale and JET magazines. The official rules of the overall competition and national entry forms are obtainable at

Parents can get additional information on the national contest by calling toll-free at (886) 294-9657. The deadline for national entries is August 11, 2001. For a copy of the official rules, parents can send a self-addressed stamped #10 envelope to: McDonald’s Presents: "It’s Showtime At The Apollo" Kids’ Talent Search— Attention: National Rules Request, PO Box 8574; Prospect Heights, IL 60070.

Contestants will be judged on their stage presence, showmanship, talent, creativity, originality and overall performance impression.

"There are so many talented kids in the communities we serve and this program is just one of several ways McDonald’s spotlights and acknowledges how special they are," said Vicky Free, marketing director, McDonald’s Corporation, U.S.

"We commend McDonald’s for its extraordinary commitment to the youth of this generation," said Chuck Sutton, executive producer of It’s Showtime at the Apollo. "It is heartwarming to see a large corporation getting out there, rolling up their sleeves, and investing the funds, time and energy to give young people an opportunity to pursue their dreams."

Many legendary and contemporary entertainers credit an early appearance on "It’s Showtime at the Apollo" for officially launching their careers. Just a few of these stars include five-time Grammy Award winner Lauryn Hill, Singer and Actress Brandy, Comedian and Actor Sinbad and Steve Harvey, comedian, actor and former host of "It’s Showtime At The Apollo."

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