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Mardi Gras returns to Playhouse
Musical this weekend supports Age Well Forsyth
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Members of the Mardi Gras dancers perform during a rehearsal of Mardi Gras 2014: Magic Juke Box at the Cumming Playhouse. - photo by Crystal Ledford

If you’re going

* What: 2014 Mardi Gras Show: Magic Juke Box

* When: 8 tonight and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday

* Where: Cumming Playhouse, 101 School St.

* Cost: $20 or $15 for seniors, students, veterans and groups of 25 or more

* For tickets, go to www.playhousecumming.com or call (770) 781-9178.

* Also: More information about the Mardi Gras Ball on May 3 will be available at the show this weekend, or by calling (404) 245-7949.

Cumming Playhouse visitors are invited to take a musical tour through New Orleans — and time — this weekend.

Linda Ledbetter, a local performer and director, will present her fifth annual Mardi Gras show at 8 tonight, Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“The first couple of years, I think we did every Mardi Gras song there is,” she said during a rehearsal Wednesday night. “So we’ve tried to come up with different ways since then to incorporate different styles of music.”

This year the show features a “magic jukebox” which, with a little help from a gypsy woman, transports the show to the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

“We start out during Mardi Gras 2014 and then the old gypsy women comes and sprinkles a little magic dust over everyone, they fall asleep and when they wake up, it’s Mardi Gras 1949,” Ledbetter said.

That process continues, taking the show to 1959 and then ’69 before returning to the present day, she said.

The musical review offers a range of hits from the various decades, including “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walking After Midnight” and “Ring of Fire.”

“Audiences will have a lot of fun and all proceeds go to a great cause,” Ledbetter said.

The Mardi Gras show is presented each year in support of Age Well Forsyth, a nonprofit serving the senior population of Forsyth County.

Through financial support, the group’s primary goal is to help maintain and grow the offerings of Forsyth County Senior Services.

According to Ledbetter, one objective is to create a senior respite day care program for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“Currently there is a Sunshine Club at Charles Place Senior Center that serves a limited number of participants from 11:30 to 3:30 daily,” she said. “There usually a waiting list for services, so we would like to be able to expand those services to help even more seniors with dementia.”

As an additional fundraiser for the respite program, Ledbetter said Age Well will also present a Mardi Gras Ball on May 3 at Sexton Hall in south Forsyth.

“We’re asking the community to join us by forming a ‘krewe’ and nominating a king and queen from your krewe,” she said, noting that a krewe is a group of people who help organize a parade or carnival. “Come dressed for Mardi Gras at the ball and vote for your king and queen nominees.”

She said whoever wins the titles of king and queen at the ball will have a special role in the 2015 Mardi Gras show at the playhouse.