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Divas and Divos back with disco theme
Sheet music for 2017 Diva Cameo McRoberts’ song “Last Dance” by Donna Summer. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Staff Writer

Eight contestants will take Ketchikan back to the disco days during the 12th annual Divas and Divos show at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

The sold-out show will include performances by Kelly Burke, Sarah Fitzgerald, Shelly Hill, Dani Marcano, Steve-o Shay, Bill Tatsuda, Bill Urquhart and Patrick Wiabel. The hosts for First City Players’ largest fundraiser of the year will be Lindsey Johnson and Dave Kiffer, and reigning Diva Cameo McRoberts will be present to pass off her crown to the new diva. Last year’s divo was Hamilton Cleverdon, who no longer lives in Ketchikan.

Divas and Divos is essentially a talent show to raise money for the nonprofit theater group. The audience spends $2 per vote at the show and for weeks leading up to it, and the diva and divo contestants who raise the most money by the end of the night are named the winners.

Sharolyn Kroscavage, who has been producing and directing the show for the past three years, said every act in the show is “fantastic.” She added that she is very proud of what the contestants have put together, with the help of musical director Chazz Gist.

“I would say we have a really broad range of different types of acts this year,” she noted. “We have from showtunes to a spoken-word piece; we have a lot of comedy in there, but just some fantastic … we just have an eclectic mix of entertainment. There’s something for everyone.”

The popular show sold out earlier than usual this year, according to its director. Kroscavage has been involved with Divas and Divos for many years, and her first time competing was in 2012. She was then named diva in 2014.

With all of her experience with the entertaining event, she knows when it’s going to be a hit. Saturday’s event, she said, is going to be “wildly fun.” She encouraged people to get their tickets earlier next year if they plan on seeing it.

“I hope that they feel very entertained, and energized, and impressed with the talent and the effort that these divas and divos and all of the volunteers put into making this show for the community,” she said. “I hope everyone feels grateful again for our community which is so supportive of the arts; and for First City Players, which creates this opportunity for us. I hope that they, each audience member, feels very satisfied with the way their money is spent in supporting First City Players.”

Kroscavage explained that she greatly enjoys getting to know new people, and bringing folks out of the shadows who might not audition for a play.

“They might not go audition for different things, but with enough urging; with the proper opportunity, they will say yes to being in the divo show,” Kroscavage added. “The contestants, in a way, with a few guidelines, they get to create their own show, and I think a lot more people are willing to do that. It could be your bank teller, it could be the teacher at the middle school, or it could be the person that works on your car. It could be anyone who shows up to do this show.”

Kroscavage told the Daily News a little bit about each of the contestants and their performances.

• Burke brings a “perky positivity and great energy to the show with a rendition of a couple show tunes that will leave the audience energized and wanting to be a cat.”

• Wiabel is a “velvet-voiced performer, whose dance moves are so fun and magical, you can’t look away.”

• Urquhart is an “incredibly hard working and musically skilled divo who is going to dazzle the crowd with his performance on the bagpipes and with his dance moves.”

• Fitzgerald is a “feisty, young diva returning for her second attempt at the crown, with a determination to work hard and win that crown with her powerhouse vocals.”

• Hill is a supporter of the arts in Ketchikan, and is “busting out of her comfort zone to perform two comedic pieces — one that she wrote herself just for” Ketchikan.

• Shay is a “well-loved and talented performer who sings from his heart and his heart is full of support for First City Players.”

• Tatsuda has a “stellar work ethic” and a “delightful sense of humor,” as well as a “wonderful singing voice that he has been hiding from us all these years.”

• Marcano has a “can-do attitude” which is “such a asset to the divo and diva team, as is her bluesy-smooth vocal stylings.”

Marcano said the divo-and-diva-hopefuls are a diverse bunch, and it’s been nice to meet a new group of performers with varying talents. She feels bad for people who are going to miss the event, and said it’s been a privilege to raise money for First City Players.

For the same price as a dinner and movie date, the audience will see several live performances for a good cause. Marcano will be singing “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King, and “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin.

“I would love to be sitting in the audience this year,” Marcano said. “Truly. I think that my songs are wonderful; they’re more of a nod back to tradition and old times, which is great; but watching everybody else — I would love to be sitting in the audience. I’m actually kind of bummed that I’m not going to be, because everybody is phenomenal. These are some truly amazing performers.”

One of the performers she pointed out is Wiabel, who Marcano said is a “crazy talented” seasonal worker in Ketchikan. Wiabel has worked seasonally in Ketchikan now for several years, where he’s been the host of the Great Alaska Lumberjack Show for seven years.

Wiabel, who is originally from Colorado, received his master’s degree in acting. For his performance on Saturday, Wiabel crafted a monologue based on the disco theme. The theme was chosen to align with this year’s fall musical, “Mamma Mia!”

His first act will be a monologue, and the second will continue that monologue but with a song.

“I’ve created a character that is the captain of the trolling boat that is called the Travolta Troller,” Wiabel said. “He’s kind of, in a sense, he started out as a disco pirate but … kind of just turned into a troller that mainly trolls around for parties. He’s a little bit of a hopeless romantic, so he’s going around looking for this lady that showed up on the boat along time ago.”

Wiabel explained that his monologues describe very unique details about a character in a short amount of time, so his audience can connect to it in a number of ways. They each see his story a different way.

The actor has been focusing on monologues lately, and recently was featured in monologue video at the first annual Ketchikan Film Festival. He’s actually going to me writing a monologue book that will include monologues written in Ketchikan and more.

“(Monologues are) very simple. It’s kind down to the minimalistic factors of the character, and like why that character, … why they are the person that they are — or being, or whatever it is, (it can be an) island,” he explained. “It can be anything.”

He said the audience will have a blast, and simply hopes to have a good time on stage at the Ted Ferry Civic Center — and raise a lot of money.

“I think it’s going to be a great fundraiser, and we’re going to help support First City Players, and do the best we can,” said Wiabel. “I think we’re going to do a pretty darn good job.”