Article and photos by Lisa Purchase

Diva Decades, the seventh installment of Pit and Balcony's fundraiser Diva Night, is shaping up to follow its predecessors as a hugely successful and entertaining show.

A staple of the Pit and Balcony scene for the past several years, Diva Night traditionally features a number of talented actresses who have graced the community theater stage, as well as food from local restaurants, a silent auction with items donated by local businesses, and a cash bar. Diva Night generally takes a bit of a tongue-in-cheek approach, with the talented singers vamping and joking, taking their "glamorous" image over the top ... boas, sunglasses, fancy cocktails, evening gowns and big hair. In the past, groups of patrons have been seen wearing their own boas and tiaras to the show, and occasionally dancing in front of the stage while the girls perform. It makes for an excellent "girls' night out."

The five divas performing this year are Ann Russell-Lutenske (most recently seen in this season's The Full Monty), Brooke Pieschke (who played Belle in P & B's Beauty & the Beast), Melissa Curry (seen in P & B's Sugar: Some Like It Hot), Honesty Elliot (seen on Pit and Balcony's stage in the 303's production of Reefer Madness), and newcomer Jocelyn Vammer (seen in this year's production of Little Women).

Co-directed by veteran Scott Warnke and Diva Brooke Pieschke, this year's Diva Decades fundraiser is honoring Pit & Balcony's long service to the community by using songs from all eight decades that the theater has been in existence. Starting with the 1930s' Glory of Love, they work their way through the years with hits from each decade, with some comedy along the way as emcee Samantha Whetstone introduces the songs. Pianist Sara Taylor and bartender Brian Bateson round out the "cast," and with the very talented voices of these five singers it promises to be a truly entertaining evening.

Diva Night takes place this Friday and Saturday, March 26 and 27, at 8 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at, or by phone at (989) 754-6587. Cost is &20. Pit and Balcony Community Theatre is located at 805 N. Hamilton Street in Old Town Saginaw.

© Lisa Purchase, 2010.