The Spring Follies return to Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown this month for a family-friendly 1960s variety show.
The show on April 9th and 10th will feature a live band and local talent telling jokes, performing skits and music from the period.
“We’re always excited, but this year is extra special,” said musical director Russell Rinker.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Follies had to skip their usual annual performance in 2021, but Rinker said everyone is excited to be back this year.
“The Follies was such a staple [and a] local tradition for over 40 years,” said Rinker.
“People just want to go back to the things they love and the things they miss.”
Those who’ve seen past shows might notice a more cohesive element in this year’s production, he said.
Often the skits weave into the music, he said, which allows for less transition time and makes everything more seamless.
“I’ll moderate and host,” Rinker said, “but it’s going to be a little more casual and fun.”
One element he’s particularly looking forward to is a wall of doors and panels like in the TV show Laugh-In, where cast members can open doors, ask each other questions and tell jokes.
Russell built the set piece with his father and said the sketch will include adults and children.
“One thing I love about the show is that people just get a chance to perform [in] a very warm environment,” Russell said.
Performing sometimes in late winter and sometimes in spring according to Russell’s schedule, The Follies managed to get their 2020 production of 1950s sketches up before the pandemic started.
That was the first year they stopped offering a pre-show with food and games, he said.
“We just didn’t have the resources and support to do it,” he said.
Another recent change is the move from the campus theater to the larger Corron Community Development Center, allowing performers to spread out further.
It’s an atmosphere that reminds him of the former campus building the Follies used in the early years when the shows drew 600-800 viewers.
In recent years, the Follies have performed in the school theater, but with room for only about 250 people, all crammed together, Rinker said it’s gotten a little too small for them.
Corron allows for more people to come, “and space to play,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be great,” he said of the move.
“I think it will very likely be the show’s new home as it goes on.”
Performances are April 9 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and April 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Corron Community Development Center. Admission is $5 at the door. Children up to 6 years have free admission.
For more information or to ask questions, email [email protected]