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What does it take to be one of the most talented teens in the St. Louis area?

Ten years from now, you will hopefully see Fort Zumwalt West High School senior Audri Bartholomew accepting the crowning award in the much-lauded EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, for those in the know). You’ll also hopefully see Belleville East High School sophomore Abby Zaiz still tap dancing to her heart’s content.

For now, you’ll have to settle for seeing them perform on stage at the Fox Theatre on Saturday night as two of 12 finalists in the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, sponsored by the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation.

The two teens have competed through several rounds to make their way to the finals, yet they are surprisingly relaxed about what’s to come during their final performances this weekend.

“It isn’t a competition at that moment anymore,” Bartholomew told St. Louis on the Air guest host Steve Potter. “It is just a competition you do with friends. Really, when you practice with these people for a week before the show, these are your friends at the end of the day. It is an honor to perform with them.”

One thing the two can’t be calm about? Performing at the Fox Theatre itself.

“I’m so excited,” Zaiz said.  “I’ve gone to shows at the Fox all the time and this is so awesome for me, to be able to dance on stage. I’ve danced on a bunch of stages but this is like the holy grail of St. Louis.”

Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Audri Bartholomew will sing "Listen" from the musical "Dreamgirls."

This is Bartholomew’s second year in the competition. Last year, she won the Kranzberg Vocal Performance Award.

“When you’re there at the Fox and you go up the stairs to the dressing room, you see a whole bunch of other signatures from people who performed there,” Bartholomew said. “It’s incredible. You’re like ‘Oh, they performed here, I’m on the same stage.’”

Bartholomew is going to college to study musical theater and hopes to pursue that well into the future. Zaiz, who has competed in dance competitions for eight years and now trains at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), said she’s still trying to figure out exactly what direction dance will take her. For now, that direction is rhythmic tap, which varies from its musical theater counterpart with a more “grounded” sound.

On Saturday, Zaiz will perform such a tap dance and Bartholomew will sing “Listen,” a selection popularized by Beyoncé in the musical Dreamgirls

Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Abby Zaiz will perform a rhythm tap routine.

Even though these two teens are rising stars amonglocal performing artists, they make time to live a normal teen life as well.

“As a senior, everyone expects you to go out and party and have the time of your life,” Bartholomew said. “While everyone does that, I like to sit at home and watch Netflix with my sister. I’m pretty chill besides singing and dancing and acting. It gets tiring after a while.”

“You definitely have to have your days off,” Zaiz interjected.

Check out a video preview of the event here:

Related Event

What: 2016 Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation Teen Talent Competition Finals
When: Saturday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards,Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.
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