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Shore Seniors Strut Their Stuff In Manasquan

Any notion that vibrancy and creativity diminish with age is about to be dealt a crippling blow in Manasquan. Seniors from all over the Jersey Shore are about to belt out the hits for prizes in the Shore Senior Idol competition at the Algonquin Arts Theater.

Algonquin Arts Theater (

The Shore Repertory organized it in conjunction with the Arts Theater.  Gina Lupi, the Repertory’s development director, says it’s patterened after Fox TV’s immensely popular “American Idol,” right down to the preliminaries on the road.

“They’ll go to New York, they’ll go to San Francisco, they’ll go to Tennessee,” says Gina. “Well, we go to Harrogate [in Lakewood], the Toms River Senior Center and Seabrook Village [in Tinton Falls].”

And if you think that being of a certain age means developing cultural roadblocks, think again. “We have somebody coming in and singing Adele, which is very, very contemporary,” gushes Gina.  “We have an opera singer. I’ve got a gal doing a tribute to Donna Summer.” Plus, of course, the standard number of Sinatra devotees and big-band-style songsters.

Gina enthuses that the contestants not only limber up their voices, but go all-out to dress the parts as well. “I wish I looked this good!” she says. “They’re in sequined gowns…they’re knockouts! Some of the gentlemen wear tuxes. They really go all-out.”

They’re competing for more than a round of applause. The winner gets a $500 grand prize. Second- and third-place finishers receive $350 and $150, respectively, all raised through entry fees and ticket sales.

Judging the competitors are three shore show-business veterans: Cabaret singer Maggie Worsdale; Bill Whitefield, the Algonquin’s artistic director with a string of productions and performances to his credit; and shore singing sensation Chris Pinnella, known most recently for his role in the Algonquin’s presentation of  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Pinnella will also take time from the judge’s table to wow the crowd with his own vocal pyrotechnics.

As she did in 2011, Bernadette Dudek assumes the hosting mantel for the night. Fans will remember her as Ms. Senior America New Jersey 2009, a title she still wears beautifully. The curtain goes up and the footlights grow bright at 3 P.M.

See all about the competition at Check out the Algonquin at

Know someone in the contest? Take a look at the lineup:

  • Leah Whelan, Southampton
  • Sal Begnino, Manchester
  • Joann Gordon, Brick
  • Horace Lacagnina, Manalapan
  • Louise Driscoll, Tinton Falls
  • James McDonald, Tinton Falls
  • Renee Tompkins, Wall Township
  • Carl Reich, Toms River
  • Eileen Folmer, Toms River
  • Johanne Santori, Absecon
  • Bill Gagliardi, Lakewood
  • Marvin Schuman, Manchester
  • Al Carbone, Toms River
  • Josephine Araniti, Brick Township
  • Sherrie McGhie, Manchester
  • Vince Capozzi, Spring Lake Heights
  • Carolyn Schwing, Brick Township
  • Peter Lamprakos, Edison

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