WILMINGTON — Eight local residents will lace up their dancing shoes for the 2018 Murphy Theatre Dancing with the Stars.
The local celebrities were revealed at a reception Thursday night at Damon’s. They will follow in the footsteps of previous contestants who raised money to help preserve the historic Murphy Theatre.
This year’s stars are:
• Wilmington High School head football coach Scott Killen
• East Clinton High School band director Sam Minge
• Wilmington Police Department Officer Pat Black
• Pediatrician Dr. Jeff Manser
• Attorney Lauren Raizk
• Businesswoman Kathy Collins
• Cosmetologist Ashley Leach
• Assistant County Prosecutor Katie Wright.
Collins and Minge were not present at the reception.
Leach, who works as a hairdresser for Making the Cut on South South Street, was a cheerleader in high school, and when asked to take part in this, she said, “Sure why not?”
As for Officer Black, who expressed he was nervous about this venture, but he decided to try.
In the past, Black has provided security at other Murphy shows.
Dr. Manser was asked a few years ago to take part in it but was unsure at the time.
“But I was asked again and I was ready for the challenge,” he said. “I actually like dancing. I’m excited to have formal dance lessons.”
Katie Wright picked up ballroom dancing while she was in law school and has been involved with that and west coast swing dancing since then.
“I am very passionate about dancing, so I am very excited,” said Wright.
Scott Killen, who’ll be starting his fifth season as the Hurricanes’ coach, said he was very humbled and excited to be asked.
“(Assistant Coach Josh Wolfe and I) ask our players to be different, be unique, and get out of their comfort zone. When asked to do this I jumped at it because, as their coach, in trying to be a role model, what better way to that than go dance in front of a lot of people,” said Killen.
Lauren Raizk was with her father, former Wilmington Mayor David Raizk, when she was asked. She stated she was nervous but thought at least it’d be funny if it was bad, and that raising money for the Murphy is a plus.
Former contestant Laura Gibson was there and gave some encouragement to the dancers. She danced in the 2016 show and was six months pregnant at the time, with her daughter, Lucy.
“It’s just a lot of fun. You get to know each other well, rehearsals are great. And that night is incredible. Even if you’ve never been on stage before,” said Gibson.
The show’s director, Timothy Larrick, gave a heads-up to the contestants.
“The dancing part is the fun part, the easy part. If you’re nervous about that, don’t be. The hard part about doing this show is raising the money,” said Larrick.
He advised the dancers to put teams together to help raise money and possibly plan an event to raise money.
People can also donate by voting online starting Aug. 1 with every dollar donated equaling a vote for a dancer.
Dancing with the Stars will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 22.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574