Bonnie Kilroe brings out her divas

Entertainer Bonnie Kilroe played a show in Chilliwack back in May, promising she'd be back with her big Vegas show. Now she's at the Cultural Centre Sept. 24 for Divas: Vaudeville meets Vegas.

Bonnie Kilroe performs as Sarah Palin in her upcoming show DIVAS: Vaudeville meets Vegas.

It’s going to be a “parade of parodies” from Vaudeville to Vegas, says entertainer Bonnie Kilroe.

“Get ready for a big production,” she tells The Progress. “This show is really special.”

Kilroe played her Patsy Cline show in Chilliwack back in May, promising she’d be coming back with her big Vegas show.

Now she’s returning Sept. 24 to present Divas: Vaudeville meets Vegas, with more than a dozen superstar tributes.

She’s pulling out all the stops.

“I do everyone,” she says.

Marilyn, Cher, Dolly, Tina, Liza, Barbara, Madonna, Lady Gaga. And even Sarah Palin.

Yes, the former U.S. presidential candidate is one of her new characters. She listened to Palin on video and got her voice down.

“I was watching Sarah Palin on TV one day, and it occurred to me, I could probably look very much like her. I grabbed my Céline Dion wig, gave it a trim, and thought, ‘This is her.’

There was instant combustion.

“Her way of speaking and mannerisms, as well as her accent and politics are so easy to animate. She’s a fun character to make fun of.”

A combo of humour and musical talent make her a “farce” to be reckoned with, she quips.

She won’t be lip-synching or faking it. She’s the real deal, singing live, in a wide range of voices and pitches.

“It more exciting that way. I do the Patsy Cline show and it’s great but the novelty wears off, and I’m looking for what’s next.”

It’s a monumental show to pull off, with 14 different costumes and wigs to fight with.

“It’s a one-woman show but I need someone to help with all the zippers,” she says. “It’s like running a marathon.”

Kilroe has energy to pull it off, plus a fetish for costume changes.

Even at family gatherings she’ll bring three separate outfits, sporty, dressy and casual.

She’s honed her chops in recent years, performing in casinos and on cruise ships with Celebrity Impostors, and was inducted into the Merritt Mountain Music Festival walk of fame in the 2003 Laugh-A-Fair.

Kilroe doesn’t want to scare anyone but she loves audience participation. If you’d rather die than be asked to come up on stage, it’s best to be sitting in the middle or back of the concert hall, she quips.

“I love to involve people,” she says. “It’s you, me and we’re together. I love doing a little improv.”

She doesn’t even mind the hecklers.

Something always goes wrong, and that’s funny, too.

“I always say, ‘Thank God it’s comedy.’ It’s the fast pace I try and keep up, with 45-second costume changes.”

“But I really enjoy connecting with people in the audience, and I tend to go out and meet folks as everyone from Mae West to Lady Gaga.”

It’s all about having a good time.

“I will be giving them everything I’ve got. I want people going home with their cheeks hurting from laughing so much.”

Hold on tight, it’s going to be a roller-coaster of a ride.

DIVAS: Vaudeville meets Vegas starring Bonnie Kilroe, $24 (+fees), Saturday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m., Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 604-391-7469 (SHOW). More at www.celebrity-imposters.com

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