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Actress takes her ‘peeps’ on wild ride

The Wichita Eagle, USA
Mar. 8, 2004
Bob Curtright
www.kansas.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Tuesday March 9, 2004

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.”

Celebrities and Scientology

“The Church of Scientology uses celebrity spokesmen to endorse L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings and give Scientology greater acceptability in mainstream America. As far back as 1955, Hubbard recognized the value of famous people to his fledgling, off-beat church when he inaugurated ‘Project Celebrity.’ According to Hubbard, Scientologists should target prominent individuals as their “quarry” and bring them back like trophies for Scientology. [...] Celebrities are considered so important to the movement’s expansion that the church created a special office to guide their careers and ensure their ‘correct utilization’ for Scientology. The church has a special branch that ministers to prominent individuals, providing them with first-class treatment. Its headquarters, called Celebrity Centre International, is housed in a magnificent old turreted mansion on Franklin Avenue, overlooking the Hollywood Freeway.
- The Selling of a Church: The Courting of Celebrities

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.

Under the title “Kirstie Alley’s Wild Ride,” Alley and crew gave an illustrated lesson in the Emotional Tone Scale devised by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s.

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.

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