I love a good show. Entertain me, please! For 23 years the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies have been thrilling audiences and saluting the troops of proud America while employing some of the longest and most mature performers at their theatre situated in downtown Palm Springs anyone has ever seen. Due to a struggling economy the show will be bringing down its curtain one final time for their 23rd and final season. Here’s the story…
A few years ago good friend Gary Iriza joined me one afternoon for a matinee showing of the Follies and we loved it! Now to thoroughly enjoy the production one must be ready to be transported to a time of vaudeville, broadway and variety acts that can borderline on kitschy camp humor but deliver experienced talent. The costumes are everything! Proud dancers and singers strut and tap dance across the stage with sass and pizzaz while bringing great memories to life for each and every audience member. A grand finale of patriotism proves to be a highlight for many veterans of the armed forces continually in attendance.
Last Wednesday the husband and I made our way downtown for the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies’ 7 p.m. showing of showgirls, glitz and glamour. Jacques hadn’t seen the revue so when he laughed and smiled his way through the funny ventriloquist skits of Brad Cummings and sat enamored with the costumery I knew we made the right decision to see the show before it bows in the spring. Let’s face it… Sadly I doubt there will ever be something like this ever again to this degree so we had to take the opportunity to partake. I’m so glad we did!
Headliner Susan Anton was pure joy and as I professed my love to her outside she held my hand lovingly and listened to my story. When I was 12, I went to Las Vegas for the very first time with my parents. Now this of course was when the MGM Grand was where Bally’s now stands. One could walk directly across the Strip to Caesar’s Palace onto their property without the entire production of overhead walkways, et al. Times were different then. Susan Anton was the headliner at the MGM and she was one of the very first performers I enjoyed in Sin City for decades to come.
Appearing once again in the Follies, Ms. Anton bought to life a wonderful book of Christmas favorites and stories of her parents from days past while looking AMAZE! Susan was a delight still in her body and beauty. I was so glad I had the chance to speak to her after the show. All of the performers seemed genuinely happy to be onstage, reveling in the fact many were still working at such a golden age.
From the cutting wit of emcee ringmaster Mr. Riff Markowitz and his “leave no stone unturned when it comes to humor” approach to the mind-boggling talents of 78-year-young Leila Burgess and company keeping oversized Vegas headdress costumes on while prancing across the stage, one can’t helped but be entertained! Or catch Mr. Dick France showing all of us performers that there’s a stage for us if we look (and audition) for it. Even when we are 84. The entire cast brought humor, humility and a sense of grace unlike anything we will see again.
However, the only saddest part of it all is not knowing where I will be in 10 years since I had planned on being in the Follies when I matured a bit more. Oh, well. Sad faces ensure. I encourage you to go to Fabulous Palm Springs Follies before the final farewell. You’ll be glad you did! On a personal note, even though we didn’t see the final show I could feel the sadness among performers onstage considering the final bow was nearing and many would be hanging up their headdresses for the last time. Behind bright perfect smiles and the shine of rhinestones their heads held high while knowing the show must go on!
Of course, as Riff mentioned since they’ve announced they’re closing the audiences have come out in droves. Get your tickets now! Thanks to the attentive staff of the theatre, the incredible Follies cast and Greg Purdy for stopping by and sitting with us for a minute before the show. Bravo!