Lawrence's long-time children's theater company, The Seem-To-Be-Players, have operated local and national companies for 28 years, and they show no signs of slowing down.
"The Seem-To-Be's are getting really, really strong," artistic director Ric Averill said.
To keep the company on the road and in the theaters, the players depend upon a variety of financial resources, including fund-raisers, to pay operating expenses. Their largest fund-raiser, "The River City Revue," an annual talent show, kicks off the latest incarnation Saturday at Liberty Hall, 644 Mass.
The players choose a theme and this year are opting for a vintage cabaret style with "Velvet Valentine Cabaret," which offers a little bit of seemingly every entertainment mode imaginable.
"It should be a lot of fun and a really wild evening," Averill says. "We let people know what we're doing, and most of the time we get performances
pretty close to the theme. We're hoping that people get into the vintage aspects of the evening and dress up. It's all the more pleasurable and makes for a genuinely good time."
Not only do the players perform, but volunteers from all walks of the community will be on hand. The audience can expect song and dance numbers, bands, comedians, skits and lots of audience participation.
Some of the performers include actors Heather Laird, Jeanne Averill, Cheryl Weaver, Jerry Mitchell Weaver and Joe Dodge. Comedy will be provided by Mike Wildgen and Erv Hodges. Bands include The Usual Suspects and a barber shop quartet, while Dance Gallery troupe "Stompettes" will also perform.
Local celebrities and politicians will often get into the act. Representative Barbara Ballard was scheduled to perform, but recently had to cancel.
"Someone's got to run the state while we're all having fun," Averill says.
The evening kicks off at 7 with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and music provided by Ray James and the Dixie Kats. The Revue starts at 8 p.m. and is followed at 10 p.m. by dancing to music provided by DJ Mike Edmondson.
All talent and equipment is volunteered for the evening, and proceeds go to The Seem-To-Be-Players. In the past, the Revue has generated as much as 10 percent of the players' annual operating funds.
"Everyone donates their talent and time, and it's a nice coming together of the community," Averill says. "It supports the things that people have grown to love about the Seem-To-Be's. The home events with the children and the holiday shows, the education and outreach programs -- it helps subsidize it all."