Making It Happen

By Jessica Kalin

The Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre group plans to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a fundraiser for the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St.

The fundraiser, to be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, is an effort to raise awareness for the events and to bolster funding for the 1929 theater, said Kathy Hanson, public relations director for the theater.

“Twenty-five years is a lot to say for a volunteer organization,” Hanson said of the group. “These volunteers come from all areas, but they are mostly local residents. We don’t want to see the theater close.”

The Egyptian Theatre’s volunteer staff would like to replace the seating, Hanson said. New seating would cost $26,000 to $30,000, she said.

Named “Just Make It Happen,” the fundraiser will focus on the need for money for the theater’s heating and air conditioning.

“The gas was shut off for a week,” Hanson said. “We hope to stay open during the summer, but there is no air conditioning; we are looking at $600,000 to install it,” she said.

The fundraiser will feature John Smith and the Shananigans Big Band. The inspiration for the show came from performers Duke Ellington and Charlie Chaplin.

“We want to make you feel like you are coming in for a show. We want to make it feel like a radio broadcast,” bandleader Smith said. In an effort to rekindle the old-time spirit, Smith’s band will feature the “Sophisticated Ladies,” a trio of vocalists including Cecelia Kafer, Barb McCaskey and headliner Nancy Killeen.

A Charlie Chaplin mime will serve as a warm-up act, with an old-time radio announcer lending the effect of a live radio broadcast.

Attendees are welcome to dance to the music, as there will be a dance floor set up in front of the stage. Light refreshments will be served.

Also scheduled for the evening is a community expo. Tickets to the event are $20 per person, with proceeds benefitting the Egyptian Theatre.

The theater has five fundraisers a year, but Smith said he hopes this one will reach out to the community and build a permanent audience for the theater.

“All I’m doing is ringing the bell. With everyone working together, we can do it,” Smith said.

Tickets are available at The Hillside Restaurant, 121 N. Second St., or by calling 758-1215.