Billie Burke, best known to today’s moviegoers as Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz, once said that age didn’t matter unless you were a cheese.
The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies is living proof of Burke’s claim. The Follies is not your average show. It’s a celebration of Mid-Century America – the 20th Century, that is – performed by a cast who actually lived through it! The show is world famous and of Broadway caliber, a combination of music, dance, and comedy that will have you waiting breathlessly to see your next show.
The Follies will return for another season in November 2012, so if you want to see its world-famous line of Long-Legged Lovelies and Follies Gentlemen – all between the ages of 50 and joined by revered guests and international vaudeville performers – get your tickets soon before they’re all sold out.
The Plaza Theater
The Follies owes it life to the demise, and then rebirth, of the historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs.
The Plaza Theatre first opened in December of 1936 when it showed the world premiere of the film Camille, now a classic. It helped to put Palm Springs on the map more than it already was and the theater soon became entrenched as a superb movie house for Palm Springs’s seasonal Hollywood celebrity audiences.
Soon, the Plaza became a showcase venue for more than just films; legendary performers such as Jack Benny and Bob Hope began broadcasting many of their national radio shows from the theater. Furthermore, stars such as Donald O’Connor, Gordon MacRae, and the incomparable Frank Sinatra gave live performances there, as well. And each year, the “Village Vanities” (later known as the “Village Insanities”, a Palm Springs charity revue, was held performed there.
Over the last several decades of the 20th century, ticket sales declined, entertainment entertained elsewhere, and live performances found other homes, and the Plaza Theatre closed its doors in 1987. Four years later, the Palm Springs city leaders asked retired TV producer Riff Markowitz to think of an idea to put the delapidated old building to use.
The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies
Markowitz and partner Mary Jardin crafted the idea of a classic Follies utilizing a cast that had actually lived through the time period that the performance was portraying.
The Follies was, of course, met with initial skepticism. Pundits thought that there was no way audiences would show up to watch scantily clad women in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s dance. But Markowitz and Jardin persisted and, alas, the show is in its third decade.
The public took the performances – and the performers – to heart. Nearly three million people have showed up over the years to take in the glamorous show that now has worldwide fame. With ten shows a week, performed sevens months a year, audiences pack the venerable Plaza Theater and see how The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies keeps shattering stereotypes of people in the latter stages of their lives.
The 2012-2013 season begins November 1 with a new show, “Dance to the Music.” It will harken back to the “American Bandstand” era where participants danced everything from the Twist to the Stroll to Disco. Only this time, the Fabulous Follies will be putting their own unique stamp on each dance and song.
Go see the Follies cast dance and sing with energy and verve that will leave even those decades younger breathing heavily. Visit http://www.psfollies.com/ for more information on ticketing, schedules, accommodations, and more.