A&E producers to cast new talent show June 4 in Lawrence

So you think you have showbiz talent but never imagined yourself on “Idol” or “America’s Got Talent.”

If that’s the case, the producers of a new “talent road show” want to see what you've got.

The producers at Pilgrim Films are behind such reality shows as “Dirty Jobs” and “American Chopper.” They are looking for people with skills that make for versatile entertainers — singers, comedians, dancers, actors — as opposed to novelty acts.

The twist to this show, in the works for eventual broadcast on A, is that instead of the talent coming to the tryouts in big cities, this will be a “road show” where all the personnel — judges, coaches, celebrity mentors — come to a small town somewhere in the heartland and help local talent put on a show.

“The idea is a talent show that doesn’t focus on the big cities,” said one of the producers for Pilgrim Films, Semi Aboud.

“We’re bringing a little Hollywood to a small town,” said executive producer Laurie Girion.

Oddly, Pilgrim’s definition of “small town” is elastic enough to include a city of 100,000 with its own theater and music scene.

Tryouts are being conducted in Lawrence from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at the Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th. There are no age restrictions and no population restrictions — if you live in Brookside and want to try out, by all means.

The key is to have what the producers are calling “marketable skills,” like a singer who can act (think Jennifer Hudson) and doesn’t necessarily look Hollywood glamorous (think Susan Boyle).

When the show is finally produced, there will be a taping in each of the smaller cities before a big crowd.

“We’ll bring a professional choreographer to town to give them a little polish,” said Girion.

A few things to know before trying out:

First, for readers who have seen “Waiting for Guffman,” this part won’t be a surprise: The big names won’t be showing up on Saturday.

That’s because this show is not on the A schedule yet. It is still in development. Lawrence and Huntington, W.Va., are the only two places Pilgrim is working in. Saturday’s tryouts will be a low-key affair, with only a few producers in attendance.

Tryouts will be brief. Contestants will be expected to have a 30- to 60-second performance featuring music (singing, playing an instrument), dancing, acting or standup. Props, if any, obviously need to be kept simple.

Finally, as Aboud put it, the show will be “more about people than the process.”

In other words, be ready to talk about why you’re trying out. The producers are looking for folks with compelling stories. They’re especially interested in anyone who may have performed in the past, maybe even thought about striking out to New York or L.A. — but life got in the way and they stayed put.

“It’s not about making people pop stars,” said Girion. “We’re looking for people who look like the people we live w every day who have this great talent.”

To sign up, call 818-478-4570 or visit