St. Pete's got Talent

America's Got Talent auditions from the Mahaffey Theater will air Monday night.

Joe Santiago, general manager of the Mahaffey Theater, worked hard to ensure that the production staff of America’s Got Talent chose the venue for Season 7 auditions of the hit show.

After several negotiating meetings, AGT’s production company decided it was a good fit. They filmed auditions at the theater April 3 and 4, which will air this Monday, May 28, and June 12.

“We sold them on just the beauty of downtown St. Pete, the productions capabilities of the facility," he said. "We sold them on customer service.”

With the production company’s crew of 100 people and approximately 150 local production staff, the fast-paced television world was brought to St. Petersburg.

But even with all the chaos around them Santiago helped make it a successful shoot. “It was a very smooth experience,” he said.

Santiago could not reveal the exact talent that auditioned at the Mahaffey but be sure to expect the usual surprises, both good and bad.

“There were some entertainers that when you saw them come on the stage, you didn’t think they were going to be as good as they actually were.”

Unlike the typical singing shows, AGT hopefuls are wide ranging.

“There were so many people with so many different types of talents you say ‘Wow, how did they ever learn how to do that,’” Santiago added.

With the success of the April shoot he is certain the television production company will look to them for future filming, not just for AGT.

“They loved St. Pete, they absolutely loved it," Santiago said. "I just know when they are looking to do more production down here, we’re going to be top of their list.”

Thankfully, Florida and the bay area will be shown in a positive light.

Florida haters, please step aside.

America’s Got Talent’s St. Petersburg auditions will air in two parts, Monday, May 28, at 8 p.m. and Tuesday, June 12, at 9 p.m. on WFLA-Ch. 8.

About The Author

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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