Feb 23, 2012 7:30 PM by Jeanette Trompeter
When more than 100 local community leaders take the stage at the Alex Madonna Expo next week for an annual fundraiser fashion show for the local women's shelter, the woman who got the whole thing going won't be in the audience.
She'll be up on stage. Again.
Phyllis Madonna raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year with her annual musical review and she's definitely more proof There's No Place Like Home.
The first weekend of every March, there's a rather unlikely gathering of characters who devote two full days of their lives to and many more leading up to it, stepping out of their comfort zones.
Phyllis' musical review is a fundraiser for the Women's Shelter of San Luis Obispo County. That and the fact Phyllis Madonna is ultimately behind the project means some rather high profile doctors, attorneys, business owners, city council-members, county supervisors, and county sheriffs check their egos at the door and spend weeks rehearsing the moves and maneuvers that will not only draw the crowds...but bring them to their feet.
"You would never think they would do what they do." says Phyllis Madonna. "I think people see who the individual is, and their personalities and they're not looking at what jobs they're doing. They're not looking at who and what they represent. They represent themselves as a human being."
That they do, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in ticket sales each year that goes to the women's shelter. It's a dream that started 25 years ago for Phyllis Madonna. "They'll do anything I ask and I certainly do appreciate and love each and every one of them. You get so the camaraderie behind stage as well as on stage is great."
For year's Phyllis was part of the antics, but two years ago decided to take her final bow as a performer in the show. So last year, for the first time, she watched the entire show from the audience. She loved seeing what has kept the crowds coming back. "But I wanted to be in it!" Phyllis says as she laughs and slaps her knee. And since this year will be the show's 25th anniversary, Phyllis will take herself out of retirement, and one more time, join the fun on stage. "It was 25 years. It was the numbers. I thought I can't let 25 go by without me being in it."
She'll join the community cast that includes many who have been a part of it since the beginning, people she has convinced to do things no one else their lives would ever be able to, and young adults who have quite literally grown up with the show. "They started being carried by mother and father and now they're teenagers." says Phyllis who has watched generations take part.
A new cast of coordinators has taken over many of the duties Phyllis once did. But when the lights go up on this year's performance, appropriately titled Encore, the woman who got it all going will take the stage with what she calls her swan song. "I don't know how it happened but I was singing it at home and I thought 'this would be perfect for the show. I believe in you. I believe in entire audience. I believe in them and what they've done supporting the women's shelter.'"
It is that optimistic spirit she has, and her genuine love of people, that draws this unlikely cast of characters together each spring. It's an amazing show of support for a great cause and an incredible woman. And it's all more proof There's No Place Like Home.
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