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Wrinkles of Washington Logo Curtain call from Spring 2010 show.

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Information about the Wrinkles of Washington Documentary

It is difficult for all of us to say goodbye to WOW. We don't want it to disappear without some record of its existence. We want there to be something that says Wrinkles of Washington happened and it was a good thing. For this reason, a documentary will be made. If you were a member of WOW or a non-member helping out, we would like each of you to think of one thing that was important to you about WOW, a fond memory, a humorous happening, or something you would like people to know about WOW. If you are one of the many people who regularly came to our shows, we would also like to hear from you. We want to record your memory and include it in the documentary. To be part of the documentary, please email us at wow@wrinklesofwashinton.com or phone Laurel Busse-Johnston at 360 628-2688.


This year marks the retirement of Wrinkles of Washington or WOW as we all call it. For the past 24 years, WOW has provided premier entertainment by seniors of our community and surrounding communities with the focus on raising money for Senior Services for South Sound along with the Senior News and other worthy causes.

In 1994 as an idea and effort to raise money for Senior Services of South Sound, a Board Member, who had seen senior theater groups in California, proposed the idea of an entertainment group comprised of talented seniors. I and another Board member of Senior Services who also had experience in theater, jumped on the idea and it grew. By-laws were written, a Board of Directors was put together comprised of other talented seniors in our community and the entertainment group called Wrinkles of Washington, WOW, was formed. Calling on the talents of other seniors, both singers and dancers known by the three of us, we put an ad in the Senior News, The Olympian, and put up posters all over town announcing the first audition for talented people of 55 and older. It was discouraging when only 4 performers showed up, but they were good, very good, and we knew the idea would take off. The word got out and we held another audition, this time we had over 25 people wishing to become part of the show. A script was written, the talent was chosen and a successful birth of WOW began!

The first show called "Sentimental Journey" opened at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Grandparents Day in September of 1994. The show was very well received and many of the performers were excited to again be on stage. At that time WOW produced two act musical plays, one in the fall, originally written by members of the group, and a Spring Song and Dance Revue. In addition to these shows, WOW was in constant demand for gigs all over the NW. We traveled as far north as Bellevue, Seattle, Everett, Aberdeen and Ryderwood to the south. We would car pool, pack up the equipment and perform! At times we were performing as many as 30 gigs a year in addition to the two shows. We had performers coming from Seattle, Shelton, Puyallup, Tacoma and Olympia, all excited as there was a stage they could perform on again. It was amazing the amount of senior talent in this area!

WOW began a yearly donation to Senior Services of South Sound. As WOW grew and other cities began to hear about our shows, bus loads of seniors from King, Pierce, Lewis, Mason, Kitsap and Grays Harbor Counties started driving to Olympia for our shows.

Through the years WOW has donated over $300,000.00 to Senior Services for South Sound. As the only remaining original member along with the other very talented performers for all these years, we are aging. The efforts we have given so willingly have dwindled, talented entertainers have died, there are fewer of us remaining. The cost of putting these shows together, the work involved and the smaller audiences have all been part of the reason to look to retirement.

One of our members is planning to produce a Documentary about WOW, its beginnings, the shows themselves, and the amazing talent who contributed to the success. There were just so many people who contributed their talents from writing scripts, working backstage, making costumes, putting together our sets for our shows, marketing, selling tickets and even working during our show at the front of house or the bake sales. We are hoping to eventually stage this documentary at both the Olympia Senior Center and the Virgil Clarkson Lacey Senior Center.

It is sad for those of us who are left without a stage, but we are happy with what WOW offered to us when we were in shows and for the thousands of dollars we donated to our senior friends who were a part of our audience. WOW wants to thank our audiences for their wonderful support and tremendous donations as that is what has made us so successful. We ask that you continue to support Senior Services in any way you can!

Michele Penberthy
Founding Member of Wrinkles of Washington
Past Preident of Wrinkles of Washington's Board of Directors

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