After 87 years in show business, Lori Leavitt of Yelm is still going strong.
On Saturday, Leavitt, 91, will sing at Wrinkles of Washington’s “Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance.”
Leavitt began performing at age 3, acting, singing and tap-dancing as part of the Los Angeles theater troupe the Meglin Kiddies.
“I sang with the big bands, and I worked at the studios all my life,” she said. “Mel Torme is my cousin by marriage.” And that wasn’t her only brush with fame: She sang with Bing Crosby and big band clarinetist Benny Goodman.
Leavitt is WOW’s oldest performer and likely one of its most enthusiastic.
“It’s the greatest company I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with many, many companies,” she said in a Monday phone interview. “These are great people. We volunteer everything, and all the money we raise goes to South Sound senior citizens for Meals on Wheels and what have you.”
The nonprofit troupe has raised more than $260,000 for South Sound Senior Services over the past two decades. The group was founded in 1994, and Leavitt has been singing with it since 2007. Saturday’s second-oldest performer, Georgia Williams, 88, and her husband, Robert Williams, have been performing since 2007’s “How the West Was Wrinkled.”
Georgia Williams is one of WOW’s Prime Time Tappers.
“I never tap-danced until I joined WOW,” she said last week. “I am blessed with excellent health, and I’m going to keep on dancing until they tell me I should quit.”
Robert Williams plays the saxophone — as he’s done since age 6.
Saturday’s performance also includes belly dance, hula and plenty of jokes. The two-hour program will showcase about 25 performers ages 55 and older.
Among the numbers Leavitt will sing Saturday is “Long Ago and Far Away,” which she recalls dubbing for the 1944 film “Cover Girl.” It’s well known that “Cover Girl” star Rita Hayworth didn’t do her own singing, but back-up singers in that era were uncredited, and Leavitt’s work has remained anonymous.
Well-known pianist Joe Baque, 95, will perform with Leavitt. He’s not a member of WOW; Leavitt pays him to accompany her.
“He’s a virtuoso on the piano,” she said. “When we sing and play together, we talk to each other with our music.”
People of all ages come to WOW shows, Georgia Williams said.
“I would say our audience members are mainly seniors, but we have a lot of young people, too. They can’t believe that old people are doing what we’re doing.”
‘Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance’
Wrinkles of Washington (WOW) combines music, dance and jokes for the group’s annual spring show. The group, made up of entertainers 55 and older, raises money for Senior Services of South Sound.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Olympia High School Performing Arts Center, 1302 North St., Olympia.
Tickets: $15; available at the Lacey and Olympia senior centers and Yenney Music, at the door, and by phone at 360-459-0730.
More information: 360-459-0730, wrinklesofwashington.com.