Popstars! Reprises

Friday, March 10, 2006

Victoria's PopStars! fans will be treated to a bonus show, while the Royal Theatre will benefit from the proceeds, which will go toward development of a solar power pilot project.

The celebrity tribute show, which usually performs each fall, returns to the Royal Theatre March 19 at 8 p.m.

"It's the same show as last November; we're bringing everyone back," said Darla Cooper, a provincial government employee and PopStars! producer.

The show will have a few changes, such as the addition of a Bette Midler impersonator. Also, choreographer Kelley O'Connor will perform the part of Peggy Lee.

The performers shed their more serious day job characters and put on their performance personae, leading audiences on a musical trip through the decades. The acts include singers who look and sound like the Judds, Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin, Bono, Neil Diamond, Karen Carpenter, Alanis Morrisette, Peggy Lee, Sarah McLachlan, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and the Mamas and Papas. They are backed by a live band and the PopStars! dancers, who first joined the show in November 2005.

Four years ago, Cooper and a cast of co-workers presented the first PopStars! show to raise funds for the Provincial Employees Community Services Fund. For that show, Cooper performed as Wynonna Judd to Candace Little's Naomi Judd.

Since then PopStars! has performed around the region to packed houses and raised thousands of dollars for local charities.

Some of the performers are professionals, such as Cooper and Little, who have taken their Counterfeit Judds show as far as Los Angeles. Cooper also performs in the Chick Wagon Band. Other provincial employees have performed live for the first time at the Royal Theatre for PopStars!

"They are all a bunch of closet hams. It is really exciting to get on the Royal Theatre stage. Some of us have never been on stage before," Cooper said.

Although PopStars! grows bigger and better with each performance, Cooper noted few members of the sold-out audiences are not public service employees.

"Most people are unaware of the number of professional performers who spend their weekdays inside office cubicles," she said. "For 20 bucks you get to see Bette, Bono, Judy and Alanis. This is the best deal in entertainment in Victoria and it's been a government secret for way too long."

This time, PopStars! benefits the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society solar power pilot project with Carmanah Technologies Inc. The project creates the first solar grid powered performance theatre in the country.

"The idea behind the whole thing, at the end of the day solar power can be used to produce conventional power," said Andrew Lee of Carmanah Technologies technical sales. "Renewable energy is feasible. We don't need to keep depending on fuel sources. Solar panels on the roof will convert sunlight into electricity."

Lee explained during the day when there's nobody in the building, the solar panels convert the sunlight into electricity that will be stored in the BC Hydro net metering system for later use. In the evening, when the theatre is needed for performances, the stored power can be accessed.

To learn more, visit the Royal Theatre or www.bchydro.com.

Tickets to PopStars! are $50, $20 and $16 and available at the Royal and McPherson box office. Call 386-6121.