Young performers sing and dance for charity

To raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Arch City Theater Troupe presents its sixth annual revue, "Ain't Life Fine!" tonight (Friday, Aug. 13) at 7:30 and Saturday at 2and 7:30 p.m. The show is at COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue.

The performers, the crew, all the people who put the show on are kids - just like the Arch City's founder, Helen Rapp.  After her younger brother Turner was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes six years ago, Helen wanted to help. She dreamed up the Arch City musical revue, which has so far raised $75,000. This year, they hope to repeat last year's success - $25,000 - and break the $100,000 mark. 

Some kids remain involved year after year (including Turner Rapp, now the troupe's staff photographer). Helen directs this year's show and also appears in it. "I like to multitask," she explains.

But she's about to age out. Arch City players, who range in age from 8 to 18, have to leave when they start college - and Helen, who just graduated from John Burroughs, heads off next week to her freshman year at Vanderbilt University. But she's turning things over to another Burroughs student, Sally Lempkemeier. The show will go on.

This year's revue, which involves students from 23 different area schools, features numbers from musicals including "The Music Man," "Hairspray" and "The Little Mermaid." Besides offering entertainment, Arch City also raises money with a bake sale, a silent auction and other events at the show. Admission is free but donations are of course welcome.