Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Spectacular Senior Follies coming to Dallas’ Majestic Theatre
Far from the same old song and dance, these benefit performances for the Majestic's preservation fund will feature elaborate costumes reminiscent of the legendary Ziegfeld Follies.
They are ageless, just like the historic downtown Dallas theatre they're hoping to preserve. More than a hundred professional singers and dancers in the golden years of their careers are rehearsing for the Spectacular Senior Follies to raise money for the Majestic Theatre's preservation fund.
“I remember the theatre when I was a little girl,” says actress Rose-Mary Rumbley, who's now in her 70s. “It was the theatre in Dallas. Big stars like Bob Hope and John Wayne would come into town to promote their movies at the Majestic. There's so much history in that building. It would be a real shame if it was forgotten in all the excitement over the opening of the new Dallas Performing Arts Center.”
The seniors are working tirelessly practicing for the musical production featuring nostalgic song and dance classics from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as elaborate costumes, reminiscent of the legendary Ziegfeld Follies.
"There are just so many talented seniors in Dallas; they sound like a young cast," said Mark Carroll of Dallas, the creative force behind the show. "You have to be 55 to be in the show, but music keeps these performers young and this kind of music never gets old. I think people will be really impressed with the caliber of talent we've assembled. Many of our performers have had very successful careers on stage.”
In 1921 the Majestic Theatre opened it's doors during the Vaudeville era. Over the years it's had its showbiz ups and downs. In the '70s it was forced to close down. In the early '80s the family of the original owner spent millions of dollars renovating it and then donated it to the city of Dallas. For the last couple of decades, it's played host to everything from private events to large Broadway-style shows.
Now, the theatre enters a new era. Last month it lost its star tenant. The Dallas Summer Musicals decided that it could no longer afford to renew its lease, putting the financial future of the Majestic in the spotlight.
“We don't think the city would shut it down,” says Follies founder Ned Startzel. “But we don't even want that question to come up. Many of the performers remember this building from their childhood, and we just want to do what we can to raise money and public awareness about the situation. We don't want there to ever be a final curtain for the Majestic and we know that if the public gets behind it, there never will be.”
There are four performances. They'll be honoring a legendary Dallasite during the intermission at each performance. Honorees include Ebby Halliday, Kenneth Cooper, Zig Ziglar, and Michael Jenkins.
Performance dates are:
Friday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept 12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 13 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available here.
Video of show rehearsals can be seen here.
Jeff Crilley is a Fox 4 reporter turned PR-man who currently runs RealNews PR.
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