To learn more
Va Va Voom is a senior theater troupe. Anyone 50 or older is welcome to audition for the group, which performs regularly at memory care facilities and for the general public.
Rehearsals are on Tuesday and Thursday at the Barberton Grange from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The grange is located at 9400 N.E. 72nd Ave., Vancouver.
"Va Va Voom Goes Hee Haw"
Performances will be at the Barberton Grange at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, May 11 to 13; and at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 14.
Tickets are $10. The variety show is appropriate for all ages.
Harriet Walker believes senior citizens can do anything they want if they have something to do.
With that in mind, the 73-year-old vocalist founded a theater group for retirees who want try out their acting, singing and dancing skills, or just have fun.
“You don’t need experience, you just need a good attitude,” she said. “Doing this is a win-win for us because it gives us something to do. We aren’t sitting around at home drinking beer and eating bonbons. It’s great to get connected to people who love to perform. We are like a family and support each other.”
The Va Va Voom entertainment troupe includes several Camas area members, and rehearses twice a week at the Barberton Grange in Vancouver. Members currently range in age from 64 to 82, but it is open to anyone 50 and older.
Members are James “Dez” Desmond, Carroll Dodd, Gregory Forbes, Nancy Rickard, Bill Lynch (sound technician), Diane Prokop, Ali Roskam, Thelma Scoville, Chuck Stavaas and Walker (director).
The group performs at senior facilities six to 12 times a year, and also tackles four to six short plays, and two longer productions. Members are singers, whistlers, poem readers, magicians. comedians, piano players, jugglers, jump ropers or musicians, to name a few.
Walker, who founded Va Va Voom in 2011, did so in order to have a live theater option for seniors in Clark County.
“I knew there was talent over here,” she said. “I love performing and to be on stage. I wanted to perform without going to Portland. If I wanted this, I had to create it.”
Currently, members are gearing up for their spring performance of “Va Va Voom Goes Hee Haw,” an original manuscript written and produced by Walker.
“It is a rendition of the old T.V. show with that name and everyone will recognize parts of it,” Walker said. “It’s goofy, country western humor.”
Diane Prokop of Camas has been involved with the group for two years.
The 67-year-old retired drama teacher began her career at Clark College and wants to continue performing as long as possible.
She plays the role of the Long Tall Texan in the upcoming musical, along with other assorted smaller roles.
“This performance will be hilarious and fun, and you won’t stop laughing or stomping your feet,” Prokop said. “It’s like a shot of vitamin B plus.”
Dez Desmond of east Vancouver has been with the group for three years.
“I have a good friend at church who performed with them,” he said. “I came and watched a show and the ladies were pretty cute, so I decided that I would join them.”
Three years later, he is still with the group.
“I like the performing and I really enjoy the times we go to the memory care senior units,” he said. “They really love us there and know all of the songs we sing.”
“We always get emotional when we go there,” Prokop said.
Desmond said the troupe members talk with residents in the memory care facilities as long as they want.
“They usually want to talk after and some have no other visitors,” he said.
Carroll Dodd, 72, of Camas, is a retired third-grade teacher. She joined Va Va Voom when it first formed.
“I met Harriet in a senior summer theater group and when she started it, I joined,” she said. “It has been great fun.”
Dodd specializes in choreography and dancing.
“I have been dancing my whole life,” she said. “I really like it but it is also the connection to other people that keeps me coming back. It’s all about the connection, keeping our energy up and continuing to learn to follow directions.”
Dodd noted that everyone in the group has unique skills to contribute.
“We really encourage people to try things and not stop,” she said. “People have no idea of the joy it gives you. This is a continuous commitment, but we love it.”