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BEHIND THE SCENES / ORANGE COUNTY

All the Pool's a Stage

September 12, 1996

There are pool parties and then there are pool parties. Ken Jillson and Al Roberts threw one last weekend and 1,000 fun-hungry, civic-minded folks showed up.

The Big Splash, a stagy standby at the Laguna Beach home of Jillson and Roberts for 11 years running, made $525,000 along its lip-syncing, tap-dancing, water-rowdy way.

The party is inarguably the county's largest private AIDS fund-raiser.

And arguably the wackiest.

Two hundred people volunteered to help make the sold-out performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday a kitschy, 50s-style high school revue "with the usual cast of characters: the principal, coach, football team, nasty cheerleaders, school nurse, girls' gym teacher and band director," says Jillson, who directed the show.

While a story line about a high school sweetheart and a football hero may sound old-hat, consider the locale: a swimming pool. That left the gates wide open for "unsynchronized swimming" by the Aquanettes and other splashing about by those involved. The front-row audience members were tarped for their protection. Blasted out of speakers were celebrity voice-overs of Whoopi Goldberg, Carrie Fisher and Penny Marshall; vintage tunes; and original songs by Roxanna Ward and Phil Trocki. One understated title: "Over the Top."

World Wide Web users can see video clips of the Big Splash on the AIDS Services Foundation's home page at http://www.ocasf.org.

Jillson and Roberts were part of the original dozen people who founded ASF in 1985, funded with 100% of the proceeds from the first Splash. ASF is the county's largest provider of help for people with AIDS.

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