WILMINGTON — Playing to a packed crowd on Saturday night, the CMH Regional Health System presents “Murphy Theatre’s Dancing with the Stars” raised more than $58,000 for the theatre’s upcoming restoration of the interior lobby.
The money raised is the largest sum in the four-year history of the fund-raising event for the historic Murphy Theatre.
Kelsey Swindler, dancing to Saturday Night Fever’s “You Should Be Dancing” with partner Cole Haugh, won the overall Trophy of Champions receiving more than $11,000 in votes in the form of monetary donations throughout her campaign. CMH Regional Health System, where Swindler is employed, matched her funds up to $5,000.
Swindler also was awarded the Audience Favorite trophy for receiving the loudest audience response based on decibel meter readings.
The Judges’ Choice Award went to Bekah Muchmore, who received four perfect “10s” from the four judges for her performance with Haugh dancing to the theme from the movie “Ghostbusters.”
Directed by Timothy Larrick and emceed by Randy Riley, “Music from the Movies” featured 10 local Clinton County stars dancing with their professional partners from the Wilmington Performing Arts Studio (WPAS).
Led by show choreographers Cole Haugh and Ami Gallagher-Filip, WPAS instructor Cassie Smith joined Haugh and Filip in putting the stars through their paces to the delight of the audience, which loudly showed its appreciation for each performance.
A total 731 seats were sold for the event.
Larrick said Monday, “I was truly amazed [at the amount raised]. All the stars raised money, and a lot of them hit their goals of $5,000. The theatre got $14,000 more than even last year.”
Giving the stars and their professional dancers a brief rest during the show, students from the Wilmington Performing Arts Studio danced to “Why” by Annie Lennox and “Fame.” WPAS dancers included Abigail Bowman, Ally Wellman, Caroline Rhude, Rory Housh, Hannah Joeckel and Olivia Lewis.
The audience was also treated to a performance by Alyenendrov Tsorokean, owner of Phoenix Rising Latin and Ballroom, and his partner Maria Wheeler, an instructor at the studio, dancing to “Love is the Most Powerful Magic of All.”
Tsorokean and Wheeler are International HSC Professional Cabaret Champions (2016, 2017), U.S. Open Cabaret Champions (2016), and winners of this year’s USA Grand National Dance Championships, Cabaret division.
In addition to title sponsor CMH Regional Health System, other underwriters included the Ohio Arts Council, News Journal, MudPie Photos, Long Pharmacy – Zeigler’s, and Donatos Pizza.