Senior Follies

Dear and wonderful Kristi Peterson invited me to see a musical revue her friend had worked on called "Senior Follies" playing at the El Cajon Performing Arts Center. It was a great chance to spend some time with Kristi sharing what we both love--musical performing.

We met early to grab a quick bite and to try and catch up with each others lives. We have not seen each other really since I left PCRS and there was much to share.

This musical revue was a huge cast of people who have been doing theatre in and around San Diego. I was familiar with the famous musical Senior Follies that has become a perennial in Palm Springs, so I expected something similar. This was almost two hours of hoofing, singing, comedy impressions and spectacle. I smiled warmly as these "older" folks sang (even survived part of the set collapsing beside them during a number) and kicked up their heels. Then the female emcee announced that no one in the cast was under the age of 55. How sweet.
WAIT A MINUTE! Sweet, hell. I suddenly realized that I am closer in age to this ensemble at this stage of my life than I would be to a cast from "Bye, Bye Birdie or Grease." HOLY C@*! I saw my theatrical career flash before my eyes in a sobering moment of reality. In 20+ years, I could be one of them up there shuffling off to Buffalo.

Watching the women in their showgirl costumes and headresses as they paraded across the stage to a pre-recorded voice over introducing themselves and telling their ages, I began to tear up thinking that these women are my mother's age; oh, how I would have loved to have my mom in this show. I would be so tickled. We could do a duet the way one mother and daughter did. Alas, no, because even if my mother was not ailing, she hated show business and hated performing of any kind. As a rebellious kid, when her father put her in the act against her wishes, she sang her song with her back to the audience. In those days that was not an arty statement that was mutiny.

And it was grand watching these people doing what they loved to be doing. The audience eating it all up--even the songs and the few performers who might want to keep their retirement status. At the intermission, I quickly scanned the program and as I could have predicted, the show would close with an Americana medley. I was raised by Vaudevillians and I know that to sell a show you close with the flag as big as you can get it and with as patritotic a number as you can muster. And at the tail end of the USO tribute, they pulled out every red, white and blue trick in the book and I fell for it hook, line and Statue of Liberty. I cried the same way I cry every July when I watch "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and I know the movie by heart.

Guess there is no bidness like show bidness.


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