Don't Tell Mama Will Hold New Competition Pitting Variety of Acts Against Each Other; Winner Gets a Show! | Playbill

News Don't Tell Mama Will Hold New Competition Pitting Variety of Acts Against Each Other; Winner Gets a Show! Don't Tell Mama will present its first annual Mama's Next BIG Act!, a 12-week competition that mixes styles and genres, this summer. The contest's winner will receive a fully produced show and more.

Beginning June 9 at 9:30 PM and running for 12 consecutive weeks every Tuesday through Aug. 25, Mama's Next BIG Act! will invite solo, duo and group acts in the following categories: music, magic, drag, burlesque and variety. (All acts may use the contest's resident music director or provide their own accompaniment.)

Audience members and celebrity judges will vote on the different performances, and the top acts will be pitted against each other during the contest's final weeks.

"This will be the mother of all contests," said Lennie Watts, who is conceiving and co-producing the series with Don't Tell Mama general manager Limor Shekhter. "Diversity will be our watchword, but the judging process will demand the highest standards for originality, showmanship and pure entertainment value. This contest is not for the faint of heart or shrinking violets, unless of course they are incredibly talented."

The contest's permanent judges and weekly guest judges will be announced in the coming weeks.

The contest's winner will receive a fully produced, four-show run of a new show, complete with publicity support; a "making of" promo video; social media Vine clips of the winning performance; and a Black & Decker toaster oven. The winner's show poster will be permanently enshrined on Mama's Legacy Wall. Following the three preliminary rounds, the Top 30 contestants will earn chances to win a number of "pop-up prizes" offered every week.

Don't Tell Mama celebrates its 33rd anniversary in November.

Mama's Next BIG Act! will run June 9, 16, 23 (at 9:30 PM); June 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25 (at 7:30 PM). The shows will be live-tweeted.

Don't Tell Mama is located at 343 West 46th Street. There is a $12 cover, plus a two-drink minimum. For reservations, call (212) 757-0788 or visit

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