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Gong Show coming to Lincolnton on Saturday

Grayson Nolen, the host of Lincolnton’s Gong Show.

MICHELLE T. BERNARD
Staff Writer

The contestants have been chosen for the “Lincolnton ‘Almost’ Gong Show,” scripts are written and, for the past several days, Deanna McGinnis, the executive director of the Arts Council of Lincoln County, has been making posts on Facebook looking for some rather odd items like an oar, a tutu and an empty Jack Daniels bottle for props. There will be only one showing, on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Cultural Center.

Even though Lincoln Idol was a success last year, Roger Calhoun, president of the Arts Council of Lincoln County, wanted to honor the life of Chuck Barris, the creator and host of the original Gong Show, an “un-talent” show that debuted on NBC on June 14, 1976 and ran until July 21, 1978. It also ran syndicated from 1976 through 1980 and in 1988. Barris died March 21, 2017.

The judges will be City of Lincolnton Mayor Ed Hatley, Ricky Vacca, who toured with the cast of “Beatlemania,” “1964-The Tribute,” and opening as a solo performer for national acts over the past 20 years and Paige Rice, who has taught school in Lincoln County for 24 years and has been on stage since she was 10 years old. Most recently, Rice played Justice or “Momma” in the Lincoln Theatre Guild’s popular “Rock of Ages.” The “eye of the people judge” will be Micah Lorick, owner of LorEnt Productions in Charlotte. He has worked with many artists and productions on the east coast. Micah was awarded Charlotte’s Black Film Festival Short Story Award in 2011. The host will be Grayson Nolen, who has been in many Lincoln Theatre Guild productions including playing the part of “Lonny,” the narrator in “Rock of Ages.”

“Two of the magicians that we have are fabulous,” Calhoun said. “As are the vocalists. I wouldn’t want to be a judge. Some of the pre-show acts that are coming in are amazing. Mr. Vacca should go into his Beatles routine.”

There’s an eclectic mix of acts that have been chosen to perform from hula-hooping to magicians to comedians to singers. The entire show will be broadcast simultaneously on a screen over the main stage. In addition, Jason Bolton will be performing his acrylic fire painting live on the front lawn of the Cultural Center.

“It will be a high-energy show with a lot of audience participation,” Calhoun said. “There’s all live music, with everything from country music to pop.”

The Lincolnton Gong Show is rated PG-13 so inappropriate acts will not be allowed.

All proceeds from the show will benefit the Arts Council of Lincoln County. There are not a lot of tickets remaining, according to Calhoun. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door and they can be purchased online at http://www.artslincolnnc.org or by calling (704) 732-9044. There are also some VIP tickets available that much be purchased in advance and include a meal catered by Harvest Moon Grill for $35. Wine, beer and other refreshments will be available during intermission. The Lincoln Cultural Center is located at 403 East Main Street in Lincolnton.

Image courtesy of Michelle T. Bernard

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