Chehalem Valley Vaudeville event will showcase local talent
A community variety show, Chehalem Valley Vaudeville, will take place next month at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg.
Nine local residents will take the stage June 10-11 to perform various talents, from singing and playing instruments to improv and juggling -- all in a homage to the entertainment style of the late 19th century to early 20th century.
"I've always been a big Vaudeville fan, with its anything-goes elements of surprise and wonder, combined with raucous, good-natured humor," Kat Ricker, public information director at the Chehalem Park and Recreation District and co-host of the event, said in an email. "I think this community is ready for live, local entertainment and hopefully we can provide a bit of relief and common ground through sharing a laugh or two and enjoying an evening out on the town -- our town."
Ultimately, the sole purpose of the show is to bring the community together. What meager proceeds are collected will go the cultural center and the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce, but no one is doing this for the money, said Scott Parker, CVCC's executive director and the co-host.
"It's more to help build and strengthen the community," he added. "And anytime you can get people … into a really nice art facility like the cultural center is a win, in my opinion."
Parker will emcee the variety show. A family-friendly event recommended for ages 8 and up, Parker will give the audience a run-down on Vaudeville for those who aren't familiar with its brand of entertainment.
"(Vaudeville) was a sort of touring kind of show that involved singing and dancing and juggling and magic and skits," Parker said. "These traveling troupes would go from town to town and perform. We're going to do our own little take on it."
Current plans are for the variety show to be split into two 45-minute acts with a 10-minute intermission. Each performance will be under five minutes.
Solo performers include Parker, who will be doing magic, juggling and possibly performing improv; Ricker, who will be singing; Alexis Duham, who will be singing and playing the ukulele; Greg Hanson, who will be singing and playing the guitar; and interim city manager Will Worthey, whose act is still a surprise.
"I think we might want to keep that close to our chest," Parker said. "Will's going to do something very entertaining, let's just say. It'll be Scottish-themed."
Members of Parker's local improv group will be performing as well, including Amanda Pewonka -- who might also sing and play the ukulele -- Stephani Sherman, Charlene Doland and Diane Longaker.
If all goes well, Chehalem Valley Vaudeville may become a monthly event.
"This first one's a trial," Parker said. "It's to see how well it's accepted by the community. I'm willing to bet that it's going to be well-received. I think the shows will sell out and I think people will want more. I think people will want to be involved. Someone's going to see it and say, 'Oh, I know somebody that would be perfect to be in the show.'"
If it does become a monthly event, performers will change up their acts each time, creating an entirely new show, Parker said.
As for whether there will be future auditions, Parker said "we would always have room for a new act or two," as he predicted that some present performers would probably not have time to participate every month.
The goal is to build the show organically, relying on the audience and current performers to spread the word about the stage opportunity. Parker and Ricker also want the event to be as inclusive as possible, allowing people of all talent levels to perform and making cuts only if too many individuals audition or the performance isn't rated PG.
"We're going to wing it," he said. "Every month will be a new learning experience."
If one thing's for certain, however, audience members are in good hands.
No stranger to theatrical productions, Parker has been participating in and gathering people together to do comedy and variety shows for the past 25 years. He is also a part of an award-winning juggling, magic and comedy troupe called "We're Not Clowns," with whom he has performed all over the world.
Ricker has a bachelor's degree in theater. She grew up participating in community theater and continued into early adulthood. She has acted and sang in multiple productions, as well as directed shows, taught children's theater and performed in an acting troupe.
"I'm loving so far that Newberg seems to be embracing it (the variety show)," Parker said. "Because most people that I've talked to, when I tell them that there's going to be a variety show coming up in June, they're so excited and they can't wait to get tickets."
Tickets went on sale May 10 at the Chamber's visitor's center and cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Seating is limited. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door. Concessions, such as wine, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, will also be available.
On both evenings, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and showtime is at 7 p.m., lasting approximately an hour and 40 minutes.
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