For two nights, prominent business, civic, educational and entertainment leaders showed off their singing, dancing and joke-telling skills and put some “fun” back in “fundraising” for the Tower Theatre Foundation.
It was the first – and now annual – Bend Follies, a comedy show about Bend, by Bend and for Bend. “The Follies were designed to showcase the important role the nonprofit Tower Foundation plays in the cultural life of Central Oregon,” said Bob Singer, chair of the Tower’s board of directors. “We figured the best way to spread our message was through a lighthearted, fast-paced variety show; one that would open one night, and close the next!” he concluded.
Follies hosts Donna James (The Mountain 99.7 FM) and David Simpson (The Producers; KPOV’s Big Screen/Little Screen), led a cast of nearly 90 volunteer performers including Bob Shaw, Mary Barackman (a.k.a. Little Caesars Lady), Tim Casey, Roz and Ashton Eaton, Maralyn Thoma, Betsy Warriner, Chuck Arnold, Lava City Roller Dolls, Scott Ramsay, Mark Capell, Jodie Barram, Sally Russell, Pamela Hulse Andrews, Renee Patrick, Lisa Dobey, Billye Turner, Ed Carson, Mike Cheney, Sara Whipple, Ann Golden Egle, Joanne Sunnarborg, Tammy Baney, the High Desert Raisinettes, Lee Anderson, Alicia Inns, Sam Albert, Doug LaPlaca, Cate O’Hagan, Buffy Busik, Jeff Cox, Russell Nute and many others.
“Everyone left the Follies feeling good about Bend, the Tower, their somewhat-talented friends and neighbors – and with very little money left in their wallets,” said Tower Foundation director of development Todd Dickerson. “And that’s what I call a successful fundraiser!”
Specifically, the Follies raised $31,000 through donations, auctions, ticket sales, cash “votes” for gratuitous standing ovations and a $9,000 matching donation challenge.
Ray Solley, executive director of the Tower Foundation, announced the 2014 Follies will be April 25 and 26. “If Bend wants another weekend to laugh at itself, and support a good cause, we can do that.” Solley said.
The Tower Theatre Foundation owns and operates the historic stage in downtown Bend. The Foundation’s mission is to provide performing arts, civic, educational and social events that enliven and enrich the lives of all Central Oregonians.