Reba, Cher, Dolly -- sort of

All tolled, Kilroe has about 40 characters in her resume, half of whom will be recreated when she brings her act to Kamloops on Feb. 25 to support the Locks of Love Foundation and help raise money to create or buy wigs for children who have lost their hair from medical conditions. Entertaining was always the goal but Kilroe saw herself either in films or live theatre. While she waited for the perennial big break, she worked musical dinner theatre and had a gig delivering singing telegrams.

"Finally, I said screw this, I'm getting my own show," and, in 2001, Divas was born.

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Kilroe has won awards for her show including an award of excellence last year at a convention of celebrity imposters. The Bea Fogelman Award was named for the woman who helped professionalize her industry and inspired the annual conventions in Las Vegas and Florida.

The winner has to have a multi-character repertoire and a high level of professionalism on and off the stage. Winners must also have exceptional detail in their work. Her awards list includes recognition for costuming, for looking the most like their celebrity character after they are in costume, for comedy and for most unique act.

Kilroe said of all her characters, her favourite is Cher -- even though to become the iconic singer, she has to slither into a full bodysuit in less than a minute "and it's just brutal. It's not fun to put on."

She said she enjoys portraying Cher because she has attitude.

The show is multimedia with videos shown on-screen during the costume changes. Some of them are parodies; for example, she mocks Miley Cyrus in a video called Yoga Ball.

While the clothes and hair change, Kilroe has just one makeup look. She said she finds it easier to create her characters through facial expressions, along with the look and the voice.

"I just hold my face in a certain way and I'm Tina, Cher, Barbra Streisand," she said. "It's hard to explain. I feel them in my body and I just do the face."

Kamloops has seen her work in the past. She has done shows at McCracken's Pub and Pogue Mahone Irish Alehouse and is looking forward to bringing her divas to the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre for a dinner show. It starts with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show at 7:30 p.m.

Volunteers will be collecting hair donations at the event -- they need to be at least six inches long. Hair of any colour is accepted; grey hair is sold and the proceeds used to buy children's wings. Donations can't be bleached hair or dreadlocks.

It takes from six to 10 donated ponytails to make one hairpiece. Most recipients are girls and the majority have lost their hair from alopecia areata. Others have lost their hair from radiation, chemotherapy, burns or other conditions.

Tickets are $80 in advance and $100 on the day of the event. The are available at the Kamloops Live box office, 1025 Lorne St., 250-374-5483, The show is being sponsored by many local businesses but has been organized by Side Show Productions and Paul Cuthbert.

© Kamloops This Week



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