PDT Staff Writer
This Saturday at 7 p.m. at Noggins in Portsmouth Dr. Vincent Scarpinato is producing a breast cancer benefit for the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund at Southern Ohio Medical Center, an organization that has been in existence since 2009. Scarpinator said since it’s creation, the Breast cancer Compassion Fund has raised more than $100,000, including $30,000 last year with “The World Goes ‘Round,” at Portsmouth Little Theater.
“That’s the fund we started a couple of years ago and we raised lots of money for women, completely in our community, with breast cancer,” Scarpinato said. “They’re all SOMC patients with breast cancer and we help them out with gas money and food money and rent money and sometimes money for things like wigs. Things their insurance company doesn’t necessarily pay for.”
This year Portsmouth West graduate Jacob Tolliver, featured as rock ‘n roll great Jerry Lee Lewis in the Million Dollar Quartet in Las Vegas, will perform at Noggins as a part of an evening that will include watching the Ohio State Buckeyes-Northwestern Wildcats football game on the big screen.
“We’ve known Jacob since he was probably 14 years old, and he’s been this kid who has always loved Jerry Lee Lewis,” Scarpinator said. “And he has never been trained to play the piano, but he can play that honky tonk kind of music that Jerry Lee Lewis is famous for. So sure enough, now he (Tolliver) is playing him in the Las Vegas production of this Broadway musical.”
Scarpinato, who performed with Tolliver on the PLT stage on several occasions, said he went to Vegas in April and saw Tolliver perform.
“It was great fun,” Scarpinato said. “The kid is incredible. I was completely blown away by his performance in Vegas.”
Scarpinato said Tolliver had applied to and was getting ready to go off to The Ohio State University when he got the call to come to Vegas and perform in the show. So he has put off his college education for the time being.
“He’s a huge Ohio State fan, so he had this idea of filming a video. So, on Saturday night he’s filming a video at Noggins right before the OSU football game,” Scarpinato said. “He has taken these OSU fight songs and put a honky tonk twist to them like he does as Jerry Lee Lewis. So he’s making this video and afterwards people will be able to donate directly to the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund by going to the video as well. But Saturday night is actually the event of him making the video and enjoying the evening watching the football game.”
Scarpinato said a lot of raffle prizes with OSU themes will be given away. They include football tickets, autographs, a golf bag and club covers.
“And what’s nice, as always, what I love about Portsmouth, is that the people of the community really came out to help,” Scarpinato said. “Steve Hayes and Mix 99.3 are running 10 commercials a day, free of charge. Debbie Gambill (Century 21 Real Estate), as soon as she hears I’m doing a benefit, calls me up and says - ‘how much money do you want?’ and she has donated the grand prize essentially for the raffle, which is this incredible raffle package she calls ‘The Ohio State Tailgaters Dream.’ It’s a gas grill, plates, and all sorts of OSU-themed stuff to have a great tailgating party.”
Scarpinato also credited several other individuals and companies who have contributed to the event, including Monster Signs, who donated a banner for the event; Scott Luther from Luther Moving who is transporting an old upright piano Tolliver had refurbished for the show. He said Noggins is donating the use of their facility for the benefit as well.
“It’s really nice when people in the community come out and say, ‘Hey, you’re doing a breast cancer event, I’ll donate that for free,’ so we’re not taking from the proceeds,” Scarpinato said. “We also have a limited number of VIP tables for $200, which will be right up front, and will hold eight people. We have a few of those left.”
Scarpinato said tickets are on sale at Noggins, Market Street Hardware and Buckeye Dairy Bar, and are $10 in advance, and $12-$15 at the door the night of the benefit with all proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund. He also acknowledged that William McKinley of the McKinley Funeral Home has donated his car (the OSU Hummer) for use in the video, and Portsmouth resident David Pettit, drum major at OSU is also going to be in the video.
“It’s just going to be a fun evening of OSU football, everybody enjoying themselves watching a great performer doing something really incredible,” Scarpinato said. “And then, later on they will be able to go online and see the video after it is all put together.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.