After a lifetime of wishing and waiting, home-grown star Kirstie Alley finally got her chance to stand on the Orpheum Theatre stage Sunday night.
The occasion was a benefit show to restore the 1922 movie palace.
“I’ve stood on a lot of stages in my career,” noted the Emmy-winning actress best known for “Cheers” and “Veronica’s Closet.”
“But, damn, this is the freaking Orpheum! I’m one of your peeps,” Alley enthused before launching into an improvised “There’s no peeps like Wichita peeps.”
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It was her only attempt at singing during the evening.
“I was born in Wichita, raised here, married here and, if the show is bad, I’ll die here,” Alley quipped.
The show featured Alley as host and occasional participant with a troupe of Los Angeles-based actors and a London-based swing band in a series of comedy skits and musical numbers.
More than 600 people attended, theater manager Jack Oliver said. Of those, 422 bought $50 and $100 tickets to help restore the theater.
“I thought it was very good. I love Kirstie Alley. She is one of my favorites,” said Wanda Taborsky, who attended with her granddaughter, Hali, a junior at West High School.
“It was so creative how they did it. Very artsy. It was neat for Wichita. We need more things like this,” Dolores David said.
Brad Steven, owner of Joe’s Car Wash, said he had no idea what to expect.
“I became interested when they came by and asked to put fliers in my window. It was worth it,” Steven said.
Alley said the scale, which ranges from highs such as exhilaration and enthusiasm to lows such as grief and hopelessness, helped save her life — literally — on several occasions.
“We’re going to start at the bottom of the scale — death — and take you to the top of the world,” Alley promised.
With the help of the 120-voice Voices of the Dream gospel choir of Wichita and gospel artist Michael Speaks from Los Angeles for the finale, she kept her promise, according to audience members who stood and clapped along with the music.