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Famed child talent scout coming to town

Peter Sklar discovered Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon

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Sarah Jessica Parker was discovered by Peter Sklar, a talent scout who will be at the Ohio Performing Arts Institute Tuesday.
Sarah Jessica Parker was discovered by Peter Sklar, a talent scout who will be at the Ohio Performing Arts Institute Tuesday.
By Andrew McGinn
Staff Writer
Updated 3:37 PM Friday, April 24, 2009

SPRINGFIELD — Why bother standing in line with tens of thousands of others at an “American Idol” audition when your ticket to fame, fortune and a possible criminal rap sheet can come to you?

Peter Sklar, a talent scout who knows a future child star when he sees one, is coming to town.

He’ll talk and meet with local children ages 6-18 (and their stage parents) on Tuesday, April 28, at the Ohio Performing Arts Institute.

Sklar started traveling around with his presentation, “So You Want to Be a Star,” a few years ago, said Scot Davidge, artistic director of OPAI.

“This is how people get discovered,” Davidge said. “He tries to hit small cities as much as big cities.”

As director of the Beginnings Workshop in New York — a sort of child-star factory — Sklar has put some pretty memorable names on the screen and stage.

They include (drum roll please) Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, Mischa Barton of “The O.C.,” Rick Schroder, Zachery Ty Bryan and Lori Loughlin.

You know the last two, respectively, as Brad and Aunt Becky from “Home Improvement” and “Full House.” (Loughlin currently is starring on “90210,” but c’mon, she’ll never top “Full House.”)

Sklar will talk about opportunities in theater and the things to watch out for — the pitfalls, the bogus agencies, that kinda stuff.

He’ll also talk about the importance of physical fitness and nutrition, according to Davidge.

“People see movies and see it’s all drug party time,” Davidge said. “You have to be in shape and ready to go.”

The drugs come later.

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0352 or

How to go

What: Talent scout Peter Sklar speaks to aspiring actors, singers and dancers ages 6-18.

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Ohio Performing Arts Institute, 1616 E. High St.

Cost: Free, but reservations are required by calling (937) 324-7444.

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