LIVINGSTON, NJ — The talents of Livingston’s special needs community were on display last week when the Livingston Advisory Committee for Disabilities (LACD) hosted its third annual talent show at the Livingston Senior and Community Center, featuring performances spanning from singing to readings of original poetry.
“At the LACD's third annual talent show for people with special needs, we once again had the pleasure of seeing a group of performers who were able to shine in the limelight for an audience that was truly appreciative of all their effort and capabilities,” said LACD chair Bob Gebroe. “To me, seeing the pride that the performers and their parents felt while they were on stage was so very uplifting. It was a win-win for everyone attending and I look forward to next year's event.”
Gebroe introduced Livingston High School Key Club President Danny Hubert as this year's Master of Ceremonies, praising him for his endless devotion to helping the LACD and other charitable causes. In turn, Hubert told the audience about Gebroe’s many contributions to the community prior to introducing the acts—stating that the audience was in for a treat.
Dressed in a magician’s outfit complete with a traditional top hat, Erik Murphy kicked off the show with a magic trick. The crowd roared with pleasure as Murphy pulled a stuffed rabbit out of his formerly empty hat.
Mary McNany followed up with her rendition of "My Destiny" from the Disney Channel series "Liv and Maddie" and had as much fun singing it as the audience enjoyed hearing it.
Audience members danced in their seats as Alex Gallego sang “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes, followed by a performance from Summer Stout singing Pink’s version of “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman: Reimagined.”
Danny Margulis played “Summertime” from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” on steel pan drums. One audience member said it was like being on a cruise, while another commented that she felt like she was visiting an island.
Murphy then returned to the stage dressed as Michael Jackson in a red shirt, black pants, sunglasses, a wig and Jackson’s signature sequined white glove as he performed a self-choreographed dance routine to “Thriller” that impressed the entire crowd.
As the final act, a caregiver read poems written by her client, explaining that the poet lost her ability to speak when she was struck by a drunk driver. The caregiver said her client, who currently uses a communications device, is fashionable, fun and has a great sense of humor.
The audience was inspired by her poetry, which encourages listeners to be brave and assures them that good things are always on the horizon.
Following the performances, Hubert announced that it was time for a dance party. He called all the performers back up and played “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake.
Hubert said he is already looking forward to next year’s talent show and hopes to expand the event.
“Every single year, the LACD Talent Show is an event that gives these incredible participants a chance to share their talents with the community,” he said. “This is one of the most important events I have the privilege to coordinate every year because it gives these people the power to show others what makes them truly special, which is incredible to be a part of.
“I would love for one day to host this event with even more participation. It was great to see everyone's performances. I can't wait until next year."
Snacks and beverages were served as the festive evening of many smiles wound down.
The LACD’s mission is to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The organization offers after-school sports clinics and hosts various events, such as Halloween and other holiday parties. Click HERE for more information.