A fresh stage idea, using those who remember first hand, boasts a cast of spectaculor senior citizens doing what they do best. In a flawless stage production, the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies plays throughout the year to a packed house of all ages. If you are visiting Southern California, consider an afternoon matinee at the historic Plaza Theater in Palm Springs. Director/manager Riff Markowitz, 55, is responsible for the building's three year old renovation and current productions.
This 1930s and 40s style follies show places beauty and talent in the young at heart. All of the follies participants are over the age of 50, but most of whom are young 60-85 year olds.
Palm Springs is best known for its warm winter days while Los Angeles takes in a rainy day or two.
In a style similar to a Las Vegas floor show, dancers and entertainers present their performances in two acts.
After the show, they performers stand in the foier to shake your hand and answer questions. Some of the featured players are, comedian Anita Maltin, a British native known for her naughty but nice humor. Her creative use of words keeps the microphone clean but images keep your side splitting.
If you like her as much as most people, ask her after if she is performing at her dinnertheatre in neighboring Cathedral City that evening. I asked her what her grandchildren thought about her jokes, and she told me they gave them to her.
Jim and Bud Mercer 76 and 80, are vaudevillians whose acts carried onto the big screen in "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Holiday Inn," and "Babes on Broadway." They are every bit as spry today as they were a halfcentury ago. Mr. (Marvin Roy) Electric and wife Carol amaze your eyes with magic as they have performed for audiences around the world.
The Villams, Ilonka and Janos 53 and 54, set up a juggleing act that keeps plates spinning above their heads and the audience on the edge of our seats.
The Follies Company includes 13 dancers ranging in age from 50 to 77. They perform the Can Can, the Charleston, and numerous patriotic peices. The show lasts two hours and costs less than $30. Reservations are a must as most performances are sold out ahead of time. State regulations require all those under 21 must sit in the balcony. The 700 seat theater doesn't have a bad seat.
Palm Springs is generally a two hour drive east of Los Angeles, though it can be a shorter trip without traffic. Plan to arrive by noon and leave after dinner. It makes a good day to window shop before the show and take in some sun. Ask the locals for a restaurant, they are courteous and willing to direct you to their favorite early bird special or hide away cusine.
The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies plays in the Plaza Theater, 128 So. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA. (619) 327-0225