Toward the end of the Broadway musical classic Gypsy, there’s a famous show-stopping number. Insufferable stage mother Mama Rose suddenly realizes all that she’s sacrificed for her ungrateful children, Louise and June. In “Rose’s Turn,” with lyrics by the inimitable Stephen Sondheim, she laments:

Well, someone tell me
when is it my turn?
don’t I get a dream for myself?
startin’ now its gonna be my turn
gangway, world, get offa my runway
startin’ now I’m battin’ a thousand
This time, boys, I’m taking the bows
and everything’s coming up Rose

Mama Rose is one of the best roles ever created for a mature actress and has been played with aplomb by the likes of Bernadette Peters, Patti Lupone, Imelda Staunton, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler, and, of course, Ethel Merman. But, many of us mere mortal women can relate to those lyrics too — whether or not we ever imagined a life onstage. By the time we reach our 40s, 50s or 60s, chances are we’ve put our children, our husbands, our parents, our jobs and countless other priorities ahead of ourselves and our dreams.

RELATED: Where Are All the Stage Mothers?

This phenomenon must be particularly heartbreaking for performers. Show business is a tough enough industry when you’re young, hungry and gravity-defying. It’s nearly impossible to break into (or break back into) it when you’re in midlife.

On Sunday afternoon, twelve fearless — and enormously talented — singers “of a certain age” will step up to the microphone to compete in the Third Annual “Tomatoes Got Talent” cabaret contest at New York’s Triad Theatre. The event is produced by Cheryl Benton of thethreetomatoes.com (“The Insider’s Guide For Women Who Aren’t Kids”) and Randie Levine-Miller, who will also be the host. The panel of blue chip show business judges includes Tony-nominee and SAG Award winner Beth Fowler; Broadway and television actress Margaret Colin, and co-director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation Alyce Finell.

According to the threetomatoes.com, “The show features talented women over 40, some of whom once had dreams of show biz careers, but life took them in other directions. The show gives them a chance to take center stage and inspires all of us to never give up on our dreams.”

The dozen contestants were selected from more than thirty hopefuls in a rigorous preliminary competition last month. “The auditions were super competitive this year,” Levine-Miller told Broadway World, “And we are so proud to announce our 2016 ‘Tomatoes Got Talent’ finalists.  By day they’re legal secretaries, artists, boutique owners, retired flight attendants, Wall Street money managers, computer geeks, and more. Our youngest finalists were born in the 1970s and our oldest finalist was born in 1925 (but we’re not saying who).” Read More »

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