Monday, 16 March 2009

Palm Spring Follies

I have found yet another career I would like to pursue when I grow up! I had the privilege of seeing an amazing Californian institution a few weeks ago. The Palm Springs Follies has been running for 18 years, recreating the atmosphere of the Ziegfield Follies of 70 years ago. Nearly 3 million people have seen the constantly changing show in that time which celebrates the music and dance of the 30's, 40's and 50's. The show is brilliantly choreographed and produced but what makes this show extra special is that you can only appear in it if you are over 50! The lady you see coming down the stairs is 85 and is currently in the Guinness book of records as the oldest performing showgirl. Does she just do a cameo? No - this lady is in the chorus group and performs all of the dances along with her female colleagues who are aged between 55 and 85 - the majority being in their 70's. The guys are aged between 53 and 79. All of the guest stars are also over 50. When I saw it that was Susan Anton, who I recall primarily as one of Dudley Moore's ex girl friends and now aged 58. They do 9 - 10 shows a week for 7 months of the year. Each show is 3 Hours! Even more amazing is that at the end of the show, all the performers, including the guest stars, wait to meet and greet the exiting audience. People get autographs, have photo's taken and talk to the performers. I was able to talk to a number of them including the extraordinary 85 year old Dorothy Kloss - who, by the way was told at 65 that she had colon cancer and should not think too far ahead! She ignored the doctor and auditioned for the Follies at the age of 71. I will do some more postings about this incredible institution along with some youtube videos so that you can watch them perform.

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