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ALTON - Alton Little Theater’s Extra Extra Entertainment Series is kicking off with the sold-out Best of the Best Christmas Concert, the Actor’s Studio Series, a $1,000 grand prize audition competition for their upcoming “Best of the Best Country Love” show, and much more.

ALT Executive Director Lee Cox shared more details about the theater’s upcoming events on the most recent “Theater Thursday” segment on Our Daily Show! on Riverbender.com. One of them, the Actors Studio Series, gives young performers a chance to be noticed by talent scouts.

“If you provide a showcase and even support for young performers, they can get to a decent school, they can be scouted by a talent scout,” Cox said. “I also like to showcase playwrights that don’t get that mainstream attention.”

One of the upcoming shows in the Actor’s Studio Series is “Two Rooms,” which follows the story of a young newlywed couple separated during the Iraq War when the husband is taken as a prisoner of war in Beirut. The show, written by Lee Blessing, runs from Jan. 11 to 13, 2024, each at 7:30 p.m.

Cox said the next show in the Actor’s Studio Series also features a way to give back to four different charities. Proceeds from the ticket sales for “Red Jasper” will help support the Healing Garden at Alton Memorial Hospital, the Alton High School theater program, the Wildlife Rescue Center, and Treehouse Wildlife Center.

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“We always give them tickets, but I wanted to do something more,” Cox said. “This program, all 15 actors are helping charities as well as introducing people to some great theater that they would probably never see in their lifetime.”

“Red Jasper” runs from Jan. 18 to 21, 2024, with each show starting at 7:30 p.m.

The final show in the series, “The Elephant’s Graveyard,” will also feature the Alton Little Theater acting debut of Our Daily Show! host C.J. Nasello, who will be playing the part of a steam shovel operator. He said his experience behind the scenes has given him a deeper appreciation for live theater actors, adding that “until you live it, you really don’t understand it.”

Tickets to each of the shows in the Actor’s Studio Series are available on the Alton Little Theater website, with prices of $10 per show or $25 for all three shows in the series. But the Extra Extra Entertainment series doesn’t stop there - auditions for their next show, the Best of the Best of Country Love, will be held in a competition with a $1,000 grand prize.

“We wanted to have a bigger audition for the region. We have a lot of people who do regional singing, and if there’s a little purse - even $1,000 - they will compete,” Cox said. “We want to have the 12 best country voices we can find.”

“Best of the Best of Country Love” auditions are coming up after the holiday season on Sunday, Jan. 7th, 2024 from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the Alton Little Theater website.

The full “Theater Thursday” segment with Cox is available at the top of this story or on Rivebender.com/video.

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