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Pack the House! Fun and fabulous, the Senior Follies triumph on OCU’s Kirkpatrick Auditorium stage

By Patrick B. McGuigan
Executive Editor

For a good time, try the Senior Follies this weekend (June 7, 8 and 9).

Within bounds of propriety, the Follies this year have just a teeny bit of an edge, bringing sexy surprises and good laughs in delivery of beautiful show tunes performed by performers “of a certain age” – from 50 up to a glorious and energetic 91.

The cast gives an even more polished and professional turn than in last year’s debut. The 2012 program seems better paced, tight and invigorating, alternating between tender duets or solos of great ballads to grand production numbers involving dozens of dancing seniors. From top to bottom, it’s a first class production that delivers, without performers taking themselves too seriously.

Last year’s fans will be glad to see two jewels — Jane Hall and Charlotte Franklin — back with their uproarious adaptation of “Cha Cha,” a vaudeville classic. Franklin knocks it out of the ballpark with her interpretation of “Broadway Baby.”

When OCU’s Jo Rowan takes the stage to the tender music and lonely words of “Drifting,” the years melt away; then, she returns for a hilarious solo dubbed “Le Mort de la Buzzy.” Kristina Rapp and Jim Henline are superb with “All I Ask,” the haunting love song from “Phantom.”

The show builds on the grand Follies traditions of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, complete with a stroll across the stage by six Follies Beauties ranging from 65-year-old (are you sure she’s 65) Jan Henry to 91-year-old Betty Windsor. After hearing about the full and fulfilled lives of these classic beauties, “if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”

New to the cast this year is retired Air Force Maj. General Jay Edwards. His singing is fine, and his Second Act delivery of a patriotic and upbeat soliloquy for seniors is outstanding. Paired with the nimble Bob Windsor, Edwards renders “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in a way that would make George M. Cohan (and James Cagney) proud.

We’re leaving out some of the best, including the Senior Sensations, Generations in Tap, and the Lynda Tarpley Dancers, as well as professionals Jody Miller (of Grammy fame) and Larry Darnell (in a great Hank Williams tribute).

The Follies are a project of founder/producer Bobbie Burbridge Lane and the Burbridge Foundation, beautifully produced to professional standards by OCU’s director of opera and musical theatre, Dr. David Herendeen. Jane Jayroe and OCU President Robert H. Henry alternate narrative duties for the program. Jayroe is as lovely as ever, and Henry is his spry and refined self.

The Follies perform at Kirpatrick Auditorirum, Oklahoma City University, at NW 25th Street and Blackwelder Avenue.

For tickets ($25 each), call 208-5227, or visit, or in person at the OCU ticket office.

Remember, proceeds will benefit Mobile Meals of Oklahoma County. A lengthier show review will appear in the June 14 print edition of The City Sentinel, with more detail on other performances in this fine community-based program.

Meanwhile, come on OKC – let’s pack the House for Friday, June 7 (7 p.m.), Saturday, June 8 (7 p.m.) and the concluding Matinee on Sunday, June 10 (3 p.m.)!

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