The theater, once a vaudeville palace, was closed in the early 1990s.
Community residents have rallied together to reopen it, and the Divas
were born about a year ago. It will cost $6.5 million to renovate the
theater and, so far, the Divas have raised $2 million, enough for a
groundbreaking in May.
This year, the Divas wanted to do something extra special for their
fund-raiser, which they hope will raise $30,000 to $50,000 for the
theater. When co-chairs Debbie Schweickert and Nancy Lynn Olson realized
the Academy Awards were coming up, they knew they had found the theme for
"We thought the Academy Awards would be a new twist. So we thought
about celebrity look-alikes and our own Oscars," said Schweickert, who
will attend the party as Elizabeth Taylor. "We didn't want to make it the
same old dinner-dance idea. We wanted to perk up some new interest."
As guests arrive Saturday, they will walk down the red carpet and be
greeted by paparazzi and searchlights. Guests may then pay $1 per vote on
the celebrity look-alikes in categories such as best actor, best actress
and best couple. The winners will receive The Diva Award, which is made
by the same company that makes the Oscar statue.
Pavia, who will attend as Shirley Temple, said she has all kinds of
tricks up her sleeve to ensure she wins the best actress category.
"I am going to tap dance up and down a staircase, and I have ribbons
with my name and best actress on them to pass out," said Pavia, who
admitted she looks nothing like Temple. "I just realized I had to be over
the top. My brother has been working on the costume. But my tapping,
well, it's kind of rough."
The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra also will perform, and the Divas
will give a lifetime achievement award to John and Donna Crean, Newport
Beach residents who have donated a lot of time and money to the Newport
"We are really excited," said Olson, who will dress as Marilyn Monroe.
"The band will play music from the '20s and '30s, and also theme songs
from movies like 'Titanic."'
Pavia said people should come to the event because the Balboa Theater
needs the support.
"There's going to be lots of surprises, and it's going to be lots of
fun," she said. "The Divas are a really friendly, really fun group, and
it's going to be a great night."
What: Divas' Academy Awards Premiere
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Four Seasons Hotel, 630 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach
Phone: (949) 646-5161