Zachary Riopelle is the 2019 Mama’s Next BIG Act! Winner

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2019 Mama’s Next BIG Act! Winner Is…

Zachary Riopelle

Don’t Tell Mama
343 W. 46th St., NYC
August 28, 2019

Photos by Maryann Lopinto

Zachary Riopelle
2019’s Mama’s Next BIG Act!

After eight weeks (two weeks of preliminaries; six weeks of competition), and starting with a field of 32 whittled down to the top five, the 2019 winner of Mama’s Next BIG Act! was revealed on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 to a filled-to-the-rafters house. And, the winner is… Zachary Riopelle.

The remaining top five were John Burns, Lauren Cupples, Nicole Spano, and Aaron Wilson.

Created by Lennie Watts and sponsored by Don’t Tell Mama, the fifth year of this award-winning talent contest boasted packed houses each week. Once the preliminaries were completed, the field of contestants started with 20, with eliminations each week until the final two weeks with the top five. In addition to votes cast by the audience, a panel of permanent and guest judges also voted and provided guidance to the contestants.

This year, Lennie moved from his hosting duties to those as a permanent judge, joining Frank Dain who was back for the fifth year.

Guest judges were Doris Dear, Natalie Douglas, Tanya Moberly, Carolyn Montgomery, Ruby Rims, Lynda Rodolitz (2018 winner), Tracy Stark, KT Sullivan, Heather Villaescusa (2017 winner), and Kristine Zbornick. Steven Ray Watkins was back as music director. Lena Moy-Borgen, a finalist in the 2016 competition, served as host with her usually mix of charm and sass.

Zachary receives $1500 toward a 4-performance run at Don’t Tell Mama in early 2020, an article in Cabaret Scenes magazine, a poster on the “Wall of Fame” at DTM, a design package provided by Frank Dain, the ASA|Pomranz Performance Award valued at $1,900 to the Cabaret Retreat at Herons Landing, and… an ELECTRIC WOK! (Each season included an appliance as one of the prizes, and was a major draw for contestants!)

The show opened with a performance by the vocal group, Those Girls. While the votes were being tallied, the audience was treated to performances by Amorika Amoroso (2015 winner), Lena-Moy Borgen, Lynda Rodolitz (2018 winner), Those Girls, and Heather Villaescusa *2017 winner).

Here are photos from the final night of competition. Congratulations to all!

Sidney Myer & Zachary with his Electric Wok!
Contest creator Lennie Watts & Zachary
2018 winner Lynda Rodolitz & Zachary
John Burns
Lauren Cupples
Nicole Spano
Aaron Wilson
Host Lena-Moy Borgen
MD Steven Ray Watkins
Amoika Amoroso
Lynda Rodolitz
Those Girls (L-R) Karen Mack, Rachel Hanser,
Wendy Russell, Eve Eaton
Heather Villaescusa