May 1 FAME benefit helps performers attain stardom

Singer/songwriter Ashleigh Ashton, who at age 16 won the first F.A.M.E. talent competition in 2012, will perform at the 4th annual “An Evening of FAME” fundraising talent competition, hosted by Lily Liu of Lily’s Talent Agency.

Believing in giving back to the Chicago arts and entertainment community, Liu, established the non-profit F.A.M.E. Foundation of Artists Mentored in Entertainment to provide financial assistance and mentorship programs to aspiring young, talented singers and dancers.

The eight finalists were selected from among 50 singers and dancers who auditioned earlier this year. None are represented by Lily’s Talent Agency.

On Friday, they will compete for the two top prizes of more than $1,000 that will be used towards their professional development in the auditorium at the Merit School of Music in Gottlieb Hall in the West Loop. 

Lily Liu of Lily's Talent AgencyAll eight contestants will be mentored by industry professionals from their field. “In the past we have given complimentary classes on camera, film, voice, and dance,” says Liu, noting that Brenda Pickleman, a SAG/AFTRA actress has coached aspiring performers who were interested in on camera and film for four to five months.

Master of ceremonies for the performance is Taylor Mallory, a Level Next Music recording artist.

Prior to the performance, guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served by Customcraft and have a chance to bid on raffle auction items that include Chicago sports memorabilia, jewelry, fashions and fine dining. 

The winners will be chosen by five celebrity judges.

On the dance side:

  · Homer Bryant, recipient of the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Lifetime Achievement Award, is a dancer and teacher who has performed with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

  · Valerie Robin, internationally recognized dancer, known for her leading roles in works by Arpino, Joffrey, and Balanchine.

  · Gormon Cook, Sr., financial advisor at William Blair & Co., is board president of and the renowned Giordano Dance Company.

On the vocalist side:

  · Broadway performer Nick Cosgrove portrayed Frankie Valli in “The Jersey Boys”

  · Whitney Kraus Jones, known for playing Dyanne in Apollo “Theatre’s Million Dollar Quartet.”

At 36 S. Peoria, 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $100 and may be purchased at the door.