MAE WEST has been enlisted to help raise funds in Pennsylvania on Saturday evening 17 February 2007.
• • For one night only, Greensburg's Palace Theatre will return to the colorful days of the flappers, the Charleston, MAE WEST, and silent film notables like Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo. "Hollywood Party at the Palace," a fundraiser for the Westmoreland Cultural Trust this Saturday, toasts the 80th anniversary of the Palace Theatre [near Pittsburgh] and pays tribute to the "Roaring '20s."
• • Opened in 1926, as the Manos Theatre, the Palace was built in a Neo-Renaissance style, complete with marble imported from Greece for the lobby walls, murals in the main auditorium, decorative plasterwork, and elegant crystal chandeliers. Mae West movies were a great favorite here during the Depression.
• • After a long life as a movie house, the Manos was reopened in 1991 as the Palace Theatre Center for the Performing Arts and has been in the midst of a three phase restoration project which will bring the theater back to its original beauty.
• • The Palace is noteworthy for its gorgeous lightbulb-lit marquee with a sunrise motif, and the theater's name in blazing neon underneath.
• • Margaret Colosimo, co-chairwoman of the event taking place at the Palace with Pamela DeMezza, says the party is "a takeoff on Oscars night, with all the ballyhoo, lights, photographers, and the red carpet. When guests enter, they are the stars."This is the second year for the Hollywood party fundraiser. Last year's event raised more than $30,000 for the Trust, according to Colosimo.
• • Tony Marino, artistic director, and Christine Rizk, executive director and producer of Stage Right professional theater company in Greensburg, have coordinated the local talent to fill the roles of MAE WEST, W.C.Fields, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and other performers who were seen onscreen in early films shown at the Manos Theatre, the movie house that opened in September 1926 at the site of the current Palace Theatre.
• • Continuous entertainment will take place in various areas of the theater, starting with the grand stairway. "The whole evening is a great chance to get dressed up and have a good time," Marino says. Guests are encouraged to interact with the Hollywood characters and, if they choose, to come dressed in period-style clothing. The event is "black-tie optional," he says. Colosimo says last year's Hollywood party attracted 220 guests; the committee predicts that as many as 300 will attend on Saturday.
• • The Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg - - event info: 724-836-1123
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • to come • •