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Seniors take to the stage
Follies at Playhouse March 27
Senior Follies 5 es
Kathy Russell watches her cast perform “Greased Lightning” during a recent Georgia Senior Follies practice. - photo by Emily Saunders
Georgia Senior Follies runs March 27-29 and April 2-5; all Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday shows are at 3 p.m. All seats are $25 and can be purchased online at
A group of seniors will soon sing, dance and act their way through what organizers hope will become one of Forsyth County’s most popular stage productions.

Georgia Senior Follies, a new original show spotlighting the performance talents of area senior citizens — from age 55 all the way to 91 — will be held at the Cumming Playhouse on March 27-29 and April 2-5.

The show is the creation of Cumming residents Bob and Kathy Russell, who also lead a local women’s trio, the Mood Swingers.

Kathy Russell serves as producer and director of Georgia Senior Follies, while her husband handles the musical end of the production after having written the show.

Both say they have been impressed by the level of interest and talent in their cast.

“We held auditions in October and had 80 people show up, which really surprised us,” Bob Russell said. “Out of those, 45 are in the show. They have tremendous talent. We’ve been very pleasantly surprised.”

The show, which runs about two hours, features three chorus companies representing Chicago, New York and Hollywood, and is divided into two acts.

The first act focuses on music from the 1940s and ‘50s. A USO cantina scene features songs like “In the Mood,” “Tea for Two” and several Frank Sinatra numbers.

“Greased Lightning,” “Rock Around the Clock” and three Elvis hits are some of songs featured in the ‘50s scene.

Act two takes the audience into the 1960s with songs from popular groups like the Beatles and Supremes.

Cast members also perform show tunes from Broadway hits “42nd Street,” “South Pacific” and “Gypsy.”

The show closes with what the Russells call the “Americana tribute,” where the cast uses patriotic numbers like “God Bless America” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to honor veterans and servicemen and women.  

The entire production took about six months to write, said Bob Russell, noting that the show is based on the talents of cast members.

“It’s interesting to note that there was no book, or script, here,” he said. “The book was predicated based on the talent that was available to us.”

Those talents have also received benefit from show choreographers Buddy Stotts and Honey Larsen of the Daza Dance Academy in Alpharetta.

“They’ve done a fabulous job with our choreography,” Kathy Russell said. “We were very lucky to get [Stotts and Larsen]. They’ve been on Broadway, performed in Las Vegas and done film.”

The Russells also got help from Rosewater Theatre Company owner G. Scott Riley, who designed the sets for the show.

“Our sets are amazing,” added Kathy Russell. “They’re all art deco in blue, black and silver.”

Cast members seem just as excited about the show as the Russells.

“I’m enjoying myself immensely,” said Jim Yaeger, a member of the men’s quartet, the Pole Cats, which will be appearing in the show. “I’ve been performing since I was in the second grade when I had my first piano recital, so I’m no stranger to appearing in public. But the scope of this thing is just way beyond my imagination.

“I’m so thankful I got the chance to do this. I’ve made some very, very nice friends out of this.”

E-mail Crystal Ledford at