By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
‘Senior Follies’ returns with rock 'n' roll celebration
1Senior
Jerry Biales gets into character as a high school nerd in "The Senior Follies." - photo by Autumn McBride

At a glance

The third annual “Georgia Senior Follies” is set for 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sundays from April 7-17 at the Cumming Playhouse, 101 School St. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.playhousecumming.com or by calling (770) 781-9178.

The days of malt shops and sock hops will soon be celebrated at the Cumming Playhouse.

Now in its third year, “The Georgia Senior Follies” will return to the stage April 7-17.

The creation of Cumming residents Bob and Kathy Russell, the show highlights the performance talents of those age 55 and older.

Kathy Russell said giving seniors a chance to shine was the main reason she and her husband created the show.

“There’s so many talented seniors here who don’t have an opportunity to perform,” she said. “It’s wonderful to be at rehearsal and hear all of the positive comments from everybody.

“I can be having the worst day and go in to rehearsal and have someone come up to me and give me a hug and say they’re having the time of their life, and it just makes everything worth it.”

Prior shows have celebrated Broadway and Hollywood movie musicals. This year’s show centers around the roots of rock ‘n’ roll.

“It’s a celebration of ‘50s and ‘60s music and the birth of American pop,” said Nancy Long, one of the show’s cast members.

Judy Cook appears in several scenes with Long, including as a showgirl and a ‘50s-style calendar girl. For her, taking part in the follies was a new challenge.

“I’ve backpacked in 18 countries, did parasailing in Turkey, lived on a sailboat and did an African safari,” said Cook, who’s participated in all three follies shows.

“I’ve had a lot of adventures in my life and I needed another adventure.”

The show does seem to inspire all of its more than 50 cast and crew members.

During a recent rehearsal, the group’s chatter made it sound more like a group of teenagers than retirees.

Russell called the cast and crew “a fun bunch.”

“They’re all definitely having one hell of a good time,” she said.

Many are doing things they never thought they could in their younger years.

“This is a little girl’s dream come true,” said Rena Lill, another of the showgirls. “When I was growing up, I always wanted to do something like this but never dreamed I could. Now I actually can.”

The eldest of the showgirls, 79-year-old Helen Dalton, said she keeps coming back to the show because of the way it makes her feel.

“I enjoy it. It’s fun and it’s a boost to your ego,” she said. “And when you’re 79, you need all the boosting you can get.”

Another boost to the egos of the showgirls group is a 2012 calendar that will be sold during the show.

“Part of the show is the song ‘Calendar Girl,’” Russell said. “So we thought it’d be fun to have a calendar to go along with the show.”

The calendar features a different showgirl for each month, as well as a full cast photo.

Russell said the calendars will be sold throughout the show’s run for $10 each, with all proceeds going to next year’s production.

The show and calendar are all about fun.

“This is sheer fun entertainment,” she said. “People will be thoroughly entertained and go away singing their favorite songs from the past.”