More than 500 people enjoyed a Sunday afternoon of song and dance as part of the eighth annual Really Big Shoe fundraiser organized by Olympia-based Entertainment Explosion to help homeless and needy children throughout Thurston and Mason counties.
The money goes toward the eight school districts in the two counties as well as Community Youth Services in Olympia. There are about 1,700 homeless and needy children in the region, according to information distributed at the show.
Entertainment Explosion is a 60-member group of seniors — 45 were in Sunday’s show at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts — who volunteer their time to perform, director Derek Werrett said.
Sunday’s goal was to raise $25,000, he said, and the group has met that goal the past four years.
Not including Sunday’s total, the group has raised more than $160,000 in the eight years Entertainment Explosion has staged a Really Big Shoe, which is both a reference to the way former TV variety host Ed Sullivan pronounced the word “show” and the idea of providing shoes to needy children, Werrett said.
This year’s show theme was “EE Goes to the Movies,” with the group’s volunteers singing and dancing their way through several show tunes over two acts.
Opening numbers included songs from “Annie Get Your Gun” and “The Music Man,” but then things really swung into gear when three women took the stage and tap danced their way through “Stayin’ Alive” from “Saturday Night Fever.”
There were also solo performances of Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” and “Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie.” The soloist in that scene, Jerry Marsh, sang with Kermit the Frog perched on his knee.
Sharon Williams of Olympia, 76, was set to tap dance to a song from “Victor Victoria,” she said prior to the 2 p.m. show start.
“I like the cause and I like to dance,” she said, adding that she didn’t take up tap dancing until she was 59. Williams, who has diabetes, was encouraged by her doctor to get more exercise.
After watching her granddaughter take tap dancing lessons, Williams was inspired to do the same and has been dancing ever since.
“I have to exercise, and tap dancing is a good way to go,” she said.
Another performer was Jim Parker, 67, of Tumwater, who was set to perform with a musical group called the Smoothies.
Parker also is the leader of an 11-member band — the Briggs YMCA Music Matters Band — that entertains guests in the lobby of the center and during intermission with a series of upbeat songs to get the crowd in the mood, he said.
He also performed in the show, playing songs from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Ghostbusters.”Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com