January 25, 2013 at 12:17 AM
The West Coast will celebrate THON this weekend, and dancers and organizers hope to “inspire tomorrow’s miracles” with Hollywood flair.
Penn State alumni and THON enthusiasts will dance this Sunday during the second-annual Lights. Camera. Cure Hollywood dance-a-THON, a six-hour dance party at the Avalon Theatre inspired by Penn State’s 46-hour Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Council Dance Marathon.
“We are dancing for [the kids] and in honor of them, and it’s a dance marathon to support life," organizer, dancer and Penn State alumnus Trevor Kress, Class of 2007, said.
Beside THON B-roll, performers Drake Bell, Kait Weston, VanJess, the Cannoneers, Bex, Reign Morton and Devon Werkheiser who will rotate between three different DJ's, dance crews ATE9 and Antics Performance, and feature baton twirler Matt Freeman will perform. Celebrities such Twilight's Christian Serratos and Pretty Little Liar's Ashley Benson, VIPS and dancers will open the dance-a-THON, walking the red carpet.
“There is a level of excitement to be around a red carpet and to see celebrities come out, and it brings the event to this prestigious level, knowing people are going to come out and support it from Hollywood,” Kress said.
Kress said he danced last year at the events' premiere and dances this year in honor of former THON child Brandon Loose, of Ephrata, who died at the age of 9 of neuroblastoma, a year after Kress graduated from Penn State.
The mini-THON is more a charity concert than the sporting event Kress, 28, said he remembers THON to be when he danced on Rec Hall's basketball court in 2006 for the Blue and White Society his junior year.
“You still get the THON vibe without being there,” Kress said.
Family hour is replaced with “family time” with Four Diamonds parents Shayne and Anne Beacher flying to attend the event. Shayne spoke at last year's THON about his son Charlie, who is featured in the THON documentary.
Executive Producer and Penn State alumnus Gary Werkheiser, Class of 1981, developed the idea for the event after hosting a a dinner at his house in Los Angeles to raise money for THON. He and other organizers knew they wanted to plan a larger event to raise money for THON, but quickly realized the cost of hosting a gala like those hosted in New York and Atlanta would be too expensive in LA.
"As I got more involved in the alumni chapter out here and talked to the younger alumni, [THON] was something that really resonates with younger alumni," Werkheiser said.
He developed the idea to host a mini-THON, and from there, donations snowballed with over 500 attendees. Lights. Camera. Cure raised $37,000 for the Four Diamonds Fund in 2012, more than three times its goal of $10,000.
This year it hopes to raise between $50,000 and $70,000 for the Four Diamonds Fund, beating its total last year, PR representative June Johnson said.
Gary's son, actor Devon Werkheiser from Nickelodeon's Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide will host the event again this year with co-host actress Gia Mantegna (In the Land of Woman).
Other confirmed celebrities include actor Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds), Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Adam Sevani (Step Up 2), Britt Robertson (Scream 4), Sean Marquette (High School), Christian Serratos (Twilight), Corbin Bleu (High School Musical), Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Drew Seeley (Another Cinderella Story), Benson (Pretty Little Liars), Maiara Walsh (Desperate House Wives), among others.
NOTE: This is a preview for a THON event I will attend in Hollywood, California this Sunday. To get live coverage, follow me from 5-11 PM EST this Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 @swtcourt.
Follow Lights. Camera. Cure on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/182979741837786/
or on Twitter @LCCHollywood