A former Waitsburg kid making noise on the comedy circuit will come home for a one-night show of music and humor.
Deanna Tipton will return to her hometown June 9 to raise money to rebuild the historic Waitsburg Town Hall.
"There will be a mixture of stand-up and singing," she said in a recent email. "I'll reminisce about my fond memories of Waitsburg that seemed normal at the time, but not so anymore."
Acting is what Tipton has wanted to do since high school. After graduating valedictorian from Waitsburg High in 1979, she earned a theater degree from Eastern Washington University and earned a scholarship for classical voice training from Fort Wright College in Spokane.
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She also spent time on the stage performing in various productions at the Spokane Civic Theatre before getting married and moving to Texas, where she still lives and works for a property management company in Dallas.
"Since I'm tall with long blond hair, people (in Dallas) think I'm a native Texan until I speak," joked the 5-foot-11 funny girl.
When she tells them she is from Washington, she often is told, "I'd love to go vacation there someday," Tipton said.
During the past couple of decades, she has performed her stand-up routine at clubs across the country, as well as performed in a variety of TV and radio commercials. Her latest acting gig is as an extra in the new upcoming revival of the TV show Dallas starring Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, which premieres this month on TNT.
But the tiny town she grew up in was never forgotten.
"I come back almost once a year, but I just get to see a few people in the neighborhood and at church," she said. "This (trip) will let me meet people who are new to Waitsburg, as well as some people I haven't seen in years."
She also hopes to meet with one of her old teachers at the show who she claims to have roughed up just before a big test.
"I've always been happy-go-lucky and never got into trouble," she said. But that changed just before her final chemistry exam during senior year when the teacher told the class the test would be difficult and not to expect an A.
"My goal was to be valedictorian, so I needed that A," Tipton said. "It basically unfolded where he was teasing us about how difficult the test was going to be. He had a reputation for giving very hard tests. We were all supposed to be studying our notes, getting ready for the big test the following day.
"I stepped away from my (desk) to talk to another student, and he came over and took my papers and threw them around the classroom."
She was outraged, and being the tall, formidable young woman she was back then, she reacted in kind.
"The next thing I knew I had Mr. Beasley slammed against the wall with his arms pulled behind him, my knee in his back and his glasses on the floor," Tipton said.
After overcoming what she described as "temporary insanity" to the teacher's outrageous behavior, Tipton picked up his glasses from the floor, handed them back to the teacher and returned to her desk while the entire class looked on in shock.
"By the end of the day, both my mother and father heard what had happened," she added. "From then on, however, Mr. Beasley was always very kind to me."
But that was long ago and there doesn't seem to be any ill will between the former student and the teacher.
"I see him every once in a while when I come home for a visit to Waitsburg," she said. "He always has a big smile on his face. And I understand he's already bought a ticket to my show too."
Tipton also says she is passionate about helping the Waitsburg Town Hall Association rebuild the historic building.
"The hall was ruined several years ago from a flash flood in downtown," she said. "Since then, it has been renovated but that drained their money for any maintenance. This is a fundraiser to keep the Town Hall operating in the black."
Showtime is 7 p.m. June 9 at the Waitsburg Plaza Theatre, 208 Main St. Tickets are $10 at the door.
For information or advance tickets, call Doris Huffman at 509-337-6168. Waitsburg is about 55 miles east of the Tri-Cities on Highway 124.
The audience will hear plenty of humorous anecdotes about growing up in a small town, about marriage and all from a woman who loves to poke fun at being a shopping diva who'll reveal her "Ten Commandants of Shopping."
"Coming home for a visit is always a joy," Tipton said. "No matter how long I've been away from Waitsburg, the people I grew up with always welcome me home with open arms."
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org