By Shari Goldstein Stern
When you’re a senior in high school, performing in musicals and plays is a very big deal. As a senior in college, acting in theater department productions can be life-changing. When you’re a senior citizen, appearing in the “Spectacular Senior Follies” is a life-affirming opportunity for seniors — if they can handle it. This talented cast of 55-years-young and better is up to the challenge and looks forward to donning the beautiful costumes that are waiting in the wings until the 2018 Follies Thursday, Sept. 20 opening.
For its 10th anniversary, the Spectacular Senior Follies cast reunion will strut their stuff for audiences, including family members, friends and neighbors who will hear the beat of dancing feet at the Charles W. Eisemann Center.
Touted as the largest and longest-running senior musical theater event in the U.S., this year’s theme is, as Bob Fosse might dance to, “Everything Old is New Again.” Flo Ziegfeld would be so proud of these 150 glamour girls. Watch out for the men, too, as they show off their stage presence with specialty numbers.
In 2008, the spectacular Rose-Mary Rumbley put her head together with Mark Carroll and the late Ned Startzel along with a Rotary Club representative and asked, “Shall we dance?” and then the bunch dreamed up the Senior Follies. According to Rumbley, Startzel did a comedy routine in every show throughout the years in which he reenacted an old college performance.
As one of the Follies’ most senior entertainers at 86-years-young, Rumbley — a respected actor, speaker, teacher, and book clubs guest speaker — demonstrates she’s well-seasoned.
A few of her former speech and drama alumni from Bishop Lynch and Dallas Baptist College now in their 60s perform by her side in Senior Follies. Rumbley also writes new material for the Follies every year. The most senior member is 94-years-old.
Rumbley and her daughter, Jill Beam, gave the same answer when asked what it means most to perform with the Follies. Rumbley replied, “Well, being with my daughter of course.” Jill said, “I look forward to performing with my mother and to stand by the ‘infamous’ Rose-Mary Rumbley.”
A few other performers have been with the Follies since the onset 10 years ago. They are Rodney Pirtle and his wife Beth, Stacy Dominguez and Trilla Hart.
Tony Award-winning Michael Serrecchia is directing and choreographing the Follies’ seniors and high school seniors simultaneously.
He brings his talent to Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts’ production of “A Chorus Line” to great reviews.
Michael Robinson, owner of legendary The Costume Shoppe, has again designed the silky-satiny-sparkly costumes with his associate, Suzanne Cranford, while channeling Flo Ziegfeld.
The Spectacular Senior Follies performances are Thursday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 23 with 2 p.m. matinees. There will be one evening show at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23. All performances are at the Charles W. Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Dr., Richardson, 75082. For further information and to purchase tickets, visit seniorfollies.com or call 972-744-4650 Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. #SeniorFollies
Please don’t take this literally, girls, but “break a leg!”