ROXBURY, NJ – It wasn’t the nicest night for a talent show, but a mid-winter, Hopatcong version of the annual Talent Show of HOPE nevertheless drew decent attendance. Now, organizer Theresa Solazzo is gearing up for Aug.4, when the 13th version of the bigger summertime show will take place at Roxbury High School.

The shows raise money for charities worldwide and local, said Solazzo, a St. Therese Church parishioner. She said the winter show at St. Jude’s in Hopatcong generated slightly more than $1,000, some of which went to the Roxbury Social Services Food Pantry and the St. Therese School Angels Fund, which assists families afford St. Therese School tuition.

“This was a great amount (of money) for that bitterly cold and icy night,” Solazzo said. “The show was inspiring and lively.”

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Money from the winter event also went to St. Jude's Philippine Mission, Strengthen Our Sisters, St. Paul's Outreach at Seton Hall University and Imprint HOPE in Uganda. That’s a “rehabilitation program for disabled children directed by our guest speaker from last year's show, Clare Byrne, who gave up her comforts here to live in a straw hut and help desperately needy children and their families,” Solazzo said.

Cold and ice won’t be a factor at the upcoming 13th Annual Talent Show of HOPE, taking place in the high school auditorium at 6 p.m. Nor will a lack of talent. 

“Once again, all levels of talent will perform,” Solazzo said. “But the bar keeps rising as our performers, some of whom have been with the show for all thirteen years, are proficient and many are award-winning performers.”

She cited as an example Gabbi Boomer, a graduate of Pope John XXIII High School and Montclair State University's John J. Cali School of Music. Solazzo said Boomer is currently performing at the Vatican and around Italy but “plans to be back on stage” for next month’s talent show.

“Another is Angela Solazzo, co-producer … whose love of performing helped inspire the creation of TS of HOPE,” she said. “Angela started with singing and tap-dancing with neighbors, evolving to musical theater pieces that she and her young school friends choreographed to solo tap dances.”

The Talent Show of HOPE began as a backyard activity in which a couple of Succasunna kids showed their skills in an effort to raise money for those in need. It grew in size, drawing professionals and raising more than $100,000 in donations so far.

Solazzo, a devout Catholic, said this year’s show “is a special year dedicated to our Blessed Mother, in this 100th Anniversary of Fatima, who has inspired and guided us since the inception of TS of HOPE.~

There is a minimum donation of $10 for adults ($5 for seniors and children and $25 for families of four or more) to attend the show. Food and other refreshments will be sold as will show DVDs, CDs and T-shirts.

For advance tickets and information, call (973) 927-3978.