Molly Comin Taps Into Lead Role
Atascadero’s Dancing With Our Stars — a community fundraiser supporting seven nonprofits, produced by Jeannie Malik and the Friends of the Atascadero Library — has grown from a small show put on in a single night to a multi-night event complete with professional dancers and choreographers, a gourmet meal with Opolo wine and local celebrities competing to earn the most votes.
The votes are earned by counting donations made by attendees before and during the event and the candidate that earns the most votes, i.e. raises the most money, wins!
All of the money goes to local nonprofits, with six new nonprofits each year selected by the library board for the honor to compete. A group of around 40-55 volunteers, like Jeannie — who’s been with the show since 2011 and called it her “full-time passion throughout the year in addition to work” — are what have built this event into a fundraiser that can share its success. Last March, the event impressively raised nearly $100,000 for the participating nonprofit organizations — a testament to the generosity and dedication of our small community.
This year, the 10th annual DWOS is getting a new director after the previous director Frank Sanchez retired. Sanchez, who turns 90 on Sept. 3, will still be involved in the show! Stepping up to fill Frank’s immeasurable shoes, Molly Comin — a respected local businesswoman and veteran choreographer — is taking on the role.
Molly admitted she feels the pressure — Frank is a dancer and director she has worked with for a long time and holds such admiration for — but she also emphasized her excitement to follow in his footsteps and continue the fundraiser’s trend of growing bigger and better each year.
So what exactly can you expect from the 2019 show? Well, Molly is excited to embrace the show’s theme, “Atascadero Time Machine: Back to the 80s” with “lots of energy and appreciation for the 80s, good music, and amazing variety.” In order to continue the show’s growth, this year it will “take a multidimensional step up to raise the bar for the performance and focus on entertaining the audience; we’re involving more professional choreographers and dancers not just to compete but also to be in the entertainment and supporting numbers that help with the flow of the show; we’re adding more costumes and props, and musical elements to focus on engaging the audience at every level, and we’re even bringing in an additional comedic asset to maximize the fun.”
Jeannie Malik said there is a lot of excitement about the theme this year and Molly’s directing: “she’s going to knock it out of the park.”
Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin, who has been the emcee for the show in the past, will be taking on a new headlining role in the show with several creative characters like Doc Brown from the popular 80s film “Back to the Future.” The Mayor himself is “very excited about the opportunity to take on more fun roles” and laughed that he was “perfect” for the part of Doc Brown.
Our new guitar-toting tour guide through the 80s will be Joel Mason, a comedian and cruise ship headliner famous for his hilarious “Tribute Shmibute” to Elton John and the Eagles. He’s significantly reduced his rate in support of the community fundraiser and is already working closely with Molly and the rest of the DWOS staff to make sure that the show and his performance is not just entertaining, but special to the local community.
Molly’s goal is to get the audience “on the edge of their seat the whole night and really sorry its over” by making the show “energetic, with a lot of comedy, and one big 80s hit after another.” She wants to “invite all lovers of the music of the 80s” to come to enjoy the show but also said she wants to reach out and engage her own age group to participate this year as well.
“I’m 47, so if I could do a shout out, I want to see Thursday night packed with people that graduated in the 80s!” The show is sure to be their biggest yet.
There is still time to get involved, so contact the Friends of the Atascadero Library if you would like to volunteer and join the event!
Tickets will go on sale Jan. 14, 2019, and quickly sell out so mark your calendars now!
For more information or to get involved in a great community event, go to friendsoftheatascaderolibrary.org/contact.