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RLT's Online DIVAS! Cabaret Fundraiser Celebrates Glitz, Glam, and Giving

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With over half a million dollars raised to date, Raleigh Little Theatre's "Divas!" fundraiser returns, presented for the first time ever in a virtual format. "Divas! 2020" will broadcast live on August 6 on Facebook and YouTube and is directed by Alison Lawrence. The cabaret fundraiser consists of both live and pre-recorded footage of eight competing "Divas" and one mysterious "Masked Diva," all performing for the chance to win the coveted "Divas" crown!

Beginning in 2004, "Divas!" has been held at Raleigh Little Theatre almost every year since. This year's fundraiser marks the 14th anniversary of the event. Originally scheduled for May 9, this year's "Divas!" competition had to be postponed and then reimagined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Having to switch to virtual 'Divas!' has been challenging on many levels," Lawrence said. "We've had to revamp the whole format of the show, which means no group songs, no choreography, no duets, and no Divas can participate in other Divas' solo numbers. But Divas are DIVAS!, and all eight performers have been up for the challenge and have handled it with grace, patience, love, and support for one another. They all have a willingness to do whatever it takes to help raise money for the theatre they call home."

Leading up to "Divas!," each performer manages their own fundraising campaign to raise money for RLT's programs. The "Divas" continue to raise money during the night of the event by acquiring votes in the form of dollars raised during their performances. The "Diva" with the most money raised at the end of the event is crowned the winner. Last year's event brought in a record total of $82,482.77 for the theatre, with an impressive $20,036 being raised by the winning "Diva" alone, Dee Penven-Crew.

This year's performers include both new and returning "Divas" to the RLT stage: Peggy Hayes, Emily James, Kelsey Lyons, Elena Mulligan Montero, Noah Sennert, LaToya Smith, Allie Sullivan, and Karen Morgan Williams. For the first time ever, this year's "Divas!" also includes a mysterious "Masked Diva," someone familiar to both community and regional theatre stages. The "Masked Diva" is not competing for the title but will divide their fundraising earnings evenly between the eight competing "Divas." If $10,000 is raised during the evening, the identity of the "Masked Diva" will be revealed.

In addition to the performances, the event will also feature a series of "Shaking it up for RLT" videos from local restaurant bartenders. Because the event is virtual, the bartenders will teach viewers how to make cocktails right at home to enjoy throughout the evening, including the event's signature drink, "Diva's Delight," by Mitchell•Casteel. Other featured restaurants and breweries include Sitti, Mandolin, Garland, Raleigh Brewing Company, and Maximillians Grill & Wine Bar.

"Divas! 2020" sponsors include Raleigh Brewing Company (Adorn-a-Diva Sponsor) and Alec and Georgia Donaldson (Diamond Level Sponsor). The performance will broadcast live on the "Divas by Raleigh Little Theatre" Facebook page ( and Raleigh Little Theatre's YouTube channel ( on August 6, 2020, at 7:30 PM, and is free to watch. Fundraising and voting during the event will be held on the "Divas! 2020" BidPal page (

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