by Frances Edstrom
On Tuesday, January 4, the Winona Health Auxiliary will once again be holding a casting call for the newest of its stage productions — The Topsy Turvy Television Follies. The 2011 version of the popular Follies is being chaired by Nancy Iglesias and Sue Degallier, who also chaired the 2008 Fabulous Fifties Follies.
But this year is different. Instead of a prepackaged show from a production company, Nancy and Sue have enlisted a group of local comedy writers to put together an absolutely original show. It will be produced February 10 - 12 on the Winona Middle School stage.
The scripts are in final development stage, and will feature parodies of some of your favorite and familiar old and new television shows.
Now it’s time for the local talent — that’s you! — to show up and be cast in the various skits. The kickoff party is a time to find out more about the show, and to sign up for one or more of the various parts involved in putting on the show — actors, singers, or backstage hands such as costumes, make-up, sets, props — all of which will be filled with local talent.
You don’t have to already be a star to be in the Follies! Lots of people who have never been on stage find out they love to act and sing and be silly in a Winona Health Follies. Maybe you have seen a past Follies and thought you could see yourself up there having fun — now’s your chance. The kickoff party will start at 6:30 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Church, 1363 Homer Valley Road (use the far entrance off the lower parking lot, across from the playground).
Want to know what to expect at the kickoff? First of all, it’s a time to get to know the directors, learn a little about the show itself, and sign up for a role in the production. Those of you who would like to have a featured singing part will have a chance to audition. Sue Degallier says that the audition could be to sheet music you bring, you can use music that will already be there, or you can simply sing something like “Happy Birthday” just to give the directors an idea of your vocal range and talents. Sue also said that everyone who wants a stage part will get one (you have to be 16 years old or older, though, and there is absolutely no upper age limit!). Then there will be a callback on Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Watkins Manor, at which time the directors will assign parts.
The big question everyone has is “how much of my time will I need to devote to this production?” And Sue has an answer. You don’t need to sign up to be in the whole show. You could be in as little as one or two skits, in which case your rehearsal schedule (rehearsals are in the evenings) will be very light except for the last week before the show opens, when everyone will rehearse nightly. And naturally you have to be there on the nights of the production itself.
I’ve been involved in three or four Follies over the years, and have met some wonderful friends that way. New in town? It’s a great way to meet interesting people. Been here all your life? It’s an easy way to meet new people. It’s fun, interesting, and an absolutely great way to while away these long winter nights. It almost makes you forget you’re not going to Mexico or Hawaii!
I hope I see you there. It’s guaranteed to be nothing but fun!