Hattiesburlesque, Waiting for a Cure partner for Fundraiser

By BETH BUNCH,

Waiting for a Cure has hooked up with the ‘bra’zen women of Hattiesburlesque to make this weekend’s show quite uplifting.

Coinciding with the Hattiesburlesque Haunts the Hippo Halloween show, which kicks off tonight and runs through Saturday, is one heck of a fundraiser – a silent auction of bras designed by local artists and celebrities. The auction will be held in the front bar area during the shows with all of the proceeds raised going directly to the Waiting for a Cure Foundation. Bras can also be bid on during business hours at the Thirsty Hippo.

As Hattiesburlesque co-creator and show producer Abigail Allen said, “It's a perfect match! An entire cast of brave, empowered women of all ages and shapes and sizes running around in their bras and the annual bra silent auction fundraiser for the Waiting for a Cure Foundation. The bra auction will help further the WFC mission of helping patients and survivors.”

Waiting for a Cure is a nonprofit organization founded 2004 in Hattiesburg to help Mississippi women (and men) with breast cancer and also provides educational opportunities to raise awareness of the disease in and around the Pine Belt. Money raised for WFC goes directly back to the community, serving in areas where it is needed most.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Hattiesburlesque for the one-of-a-kind handmade decorative bra silent auction,” said Dawn Gillis, WFC president. “It’s all about helping breast cancer patients in a glitzy, unique and fun manner.”

As many Hattiesburg residents are already aware, Hattiesburlesque is a high energy burlesque-inspired music and dance review that carries a message of acceptance and appreciation of beauty in all shapes and sizes. This time around, however, they will be carrying another important message.

"The Waiting for a Cure Foundation, which raises funding and awareness for breast cancer, contacted us about the idea," said Allen. "They said during one of their board meetings several of the members came to the table with the idea of partnering with Hattiesburlesque because as they put it, ‘here's a bunch of women running around in their bras with a positive message for Hattiesburg… Wouldn't they be perfect to do our bra fundraiser with?’ We absolutely agreed!"

Bra designers include Spence Townsend, Eric Eves, Dee Tatum, Kim Whitt, Mary Dryden, Abigail Allen, Lyndsey Williams, cast members of Hattiesburlesque and many more.

 Signed bras include Kaitlin Olsen of "the Mick," the cast of Santa Clairita Diet, Drew Barrymore and cast members of CSI Miami.

This time around, the production team boasts the largest cast to date with 27 dancers and performers hitting the stage alongside 7 musicians who make up the live band.

"Lord knows where we’re going to put the audience," said Allison Neville, a long-time veteran of the show and creative consultant. "All I can say is this show is going to be a ton of spooky Halloween fun mixed in with a bunch of sexy and everyone's going to have a blast."

Ask anyone who has attended multiple Hattiesburlesque shows and they'll probably tell you that Halloween shows take  the cake.

"There is something about Halloween that gives everyone the license to dress up for the occasion," said Rebecca Chandler, co-creator and choreographer. "Whether dressed in their favorite Halloween costume or simply dressed with some burlesque flair, fans of the show really go all out at Halloween."

Another great aspect of the "Haunted" Thirsty Hippo is how the production team really goes crazy with the decor.

"The Hippo is absolutely transformed and we all do it together," boasts Keenan Walker, the show’s stage manager. "This year the theme will be a mad scientist laboratory straight out of a ’60s sci-fi movie and I really think the audience is going to love it!"

Shows are set October 12, 13 and 14 and tickets can be purchased online at www.thirstyhippo.com.

Hattiesburlesque shows always sell out, so get your tickets while you still can. This is one of the coolest things to do in this beloved town, so don't miss it.

For more information about Waiting for a Cure, contact WFC president Dawn Gillis at 601.620.6421 or queenelk36@yahoo.com. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WaitingForACure.