Billtown Burlesque will host "Beauty and the Beats," a combination storybook-themed burlesque show and band scramble, at 8 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave.
Something new to the burlesque scene, the troupe will perform 15 minutes of skits inside the community room (formerly Site:B), and the bands will perform for 15 minutes outside in the courtyard gazebo.
Twenty-four local musicians voluntarily threw their names into a random drawing, resulting in five "scrambled" bands, who will perform throughout the night. The bands were randomly chosen in late July by Isaac Conner, Billtown Burlesque producer and performer, along with three "storybook girls" (burlesque troupe members), Snow White, the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit.
Conner said he saw a band scramble done in San Diego, where he used to live, and enjoyed it so much that he wanted to do one in Williamsport as a fundraiser for the burlesque troupe.
"One night (a local bar) had a band scramble. They had a drawing and the bands had about a month to get some stuff together. As a fan of music, it was a real treat," Conner said. "Getting to see handfuls of my favorite bands all mixed together was kind of a dream come true, really."
A portion of the proceeds from the night will go to the AIDS Resource Alliance, a charitable organization that means a lot to scramble participant Don Bellinger.
Bellinger, a spoken word artist and native of Philadelphia, now lives in Williamsport and said he wanted to be a part of the scramble because his aunt has been diagnosed with the HIV virus.
"We need to learn about it so the youth can know the truth about the disease," Bellinger said. "Music is an outlet and when you combine different styles together, people will listen. Just think of all the artists in the scramble - putting our ideas together for one night - someone in the crowd will want more."
Michael Blaustein, assistant director for the show and burlesque performer, also will be lending his musical talents to the band scramble.
Blaustein, who moved to Williamsport from New York City about six months ago, said he will be singing and maybe playing guitar and bass in his newly formed band. He also will be performing a song and dance number from "Into the Woods" during the burlesque show. He said that the scramble is a great marketing tool for bringing more people to the burlesque shows.
"In New York City, when you got a gig, you get one set and they have four or five bands scheduled a night and they bring their own crowds," Blaustein said. "Having all those different bands playing, they will bring their own crowds in - they have their own following - and if each person brings in five people, you have a lot more who wouldn't have come (to a burlesque show) before."
The troupe brings in a consistent attendance of more than 350 people at each show, according to Conner, but he is planning for at least 500 at the show on Aug. 25.
"I'm sure this will be one of our largest shows," Conner said. "This will probably be our best show because we have our star performers and newer people who have had a chance to develop ... It's been really helpful letting people take over director roles and a lot of people involved with the Community Theatre League are now helping with the troupe, too."
Conner said the scramble is a collaborative process and the bands are encouraged to keep that in mind - share their equipment and work together.
Singer and guitar player Matt Gaffney of Felix Fernglare said he is fairly new to the stage and decided to participate in the scramble to meet new people and other musicians.
"The goal of what I'm doing is to let my own ideas be further molded by the contributions of other people," Gaffney said. "I like the element of chance going into it. I can go around and try to meet people, but I like the idea of kind of being thrown into something and trying to manage that. It's a really great idea."
Staff for the show, along with Conner and Blaustein, include Amber Dougherty and Mandy Ybarra, co-directors, and Ann Mahoney, assistant director.
Magician Steve Hyde and Ashlyn Williams will provide pre-show entertainment. Tickets are $10 at the door and the show is for viewers 18 and over.
For more information about the burlesque performance or the band scramble, search for Billtown Burlesque on Facebook.