This week was the popular annual fundraiser, Act Your Pants Off, which helps to raise money for St. Lou Fringe. The fundraiser also serves as the warm up event that leads into the annual St Lou Fringe Festival that take place next month. This event has been popular for years and this year definitely did not disappoint.
The fundraiser featured seven extremely talents local artists from different areas of theater and entertainment. The participants took the stage at Off Broadway to compete for a trophy and for a chance to show the audience a little more than just their talent.
The show started off with some hilarious opening remarks and instructions from co-hosts Lola Van Ella and Desire’ Declyne. The two had the audience rolling as they bounced around the schedule of events. Of course, the goal of the evening, besides raising money for a great organization, is to get the participants naked. To demonstrate, Lola Van Ella performed a very entertaining strip tease and burlesque dance. All that can be said is WOW! What a talent!
Round One: So in round one, each participant is given a monologue 30 minutes prior to the show and they have to do their best to memorize it and then perform it without mistakes. The crowd was pleasantly surprised that most of the actors pulled it off, or cover it pretty well. Alex Carnes, a very talented improv artist, wasn’t so lucky. He had some trouble with his monologue but did a great job of entertaining us despite the missing lines. And he ended up nearly naked to make up for it. It was Tony-nominee Keaton Treece that came out on top for the first round. He took the stage like a pro and delivered one of the funniest most entertaining strips anyone has ever seen. (We are so proud of Keaton, who also serves as St. Louis Limelight’s Marketing Director.)
Round Two: For the second and final round, each of the actors had to prepare a monologue of their choice. To mix it up, the extremely hilarious Desire’ Declyne would have them perform in different ways. For example, Paul Cereghino performed the epic monologue from the 80’s sitcom Designing Women. He started out as Julia Sugarbaker but by the end he was told to do the monologue as Edith Bunker. The crowd went wild. And Donna Weinsting’s performance with Gertrude’s monologue from Hamlet quickly transformed as she expertly channelled Miss Garrett from The Facts of Life. In the end, for the first time in history of the event, there was a tie. Donna Weinsting and Jaz Tucker took the stage to drop their drawers and to make it three times the fun, Paul Cereghino joined.
For the final prize, Donna Weinsting was crowned the winner and awarded the trophy. Over all, the night was wildly entertaining and definitely a new favorite event that I will look forward to every year. A special thanks to all those that participated and made the evening a success. Matthew Kerns, along with his team, have gone above and beyond to bring this annual event and we beg them to continue the tradition.
Now, with Act Your Pants Off! behind us, we look forward to the festival that is sure to entertain everyone in attendance. This year will feature many new things. For example, this will be the first year that a musical will be included in the event. A Song From Vanya will be directed by Matthew Kerns and was written by Bret Martin, John Shillinton, and Robin Eschner. It will be performed on the Schlafly MainStage at the Grandel Theatre.
For more info on the festival click here.
Tickets are also available now. Click here or call 314-534-1111 to purchase them.
Finally, continue following us as we cover the festival in full and bring you all the juicy details!
FEATURE IMAGE TAKEN BY BOB CROWE