The Best Follies Ever!
BY SANDRA A. BERRY
What started as a costume party and talent show in 2004 has morphed into a theatrical musical revue. A very talented cast and a hard-working crew of 25 members of Los Cabos Tomatoes, created and performed in the 19th annual Fabulous Follies on Thursday, March 23. The overall theme was “Anything Goes,” a spoof taken from the title of the musical originally shown on Broadway in 1934. The production crew took the title literally and produced a musical revue with an all-female cast based on the expression, “Anything Goes” meaning just what it says: anything goes, there are no rules, anything is ok, with emphasis on female power anthems. So, with tongue in cheek and a wink, the show proved that today, anything goes.
Cabo Jack’s, a local entertainment establishment in downtown Cabo San Lucas owned by Carlos “Charlie” Gomez, was converted from a very rustic-looking setting into a quasi-Caribbean cruiser’s delight with an onboard dinner show. Passengers with boarding passes entered the terminal on a red carpet, which led to a larger-than-life 10′ life preserver with a backdrop banner of a ship’s boarding ramp as a Photo Op. Stewards Kathy Linder and Lyn Spicer handed an elaborate Playbill program to guests and led them into the wide open-air space to reserved tables dressed in white linen crossed with a navy blue runner. Centerpieces were bottles of various sizes painted in nautical colors of navy, white and red sitting on a tray of sand adored with sea shells. Guests were encouraged to dress nautically in navy and white. The wait staff were dressed in all black with a red kerchief around their necks and a white sailor cap looking muy guapo! Cocktail napkins stated, “Let’s get Nauti.”
A ship’s horn blasted to get everyone’s attention and seated when the ship’s captain, Donna Gray, announced “All Aboard!” to get ready for some madcap antics and somewhat nauti, dance routines. Music was presented by DJ Ruben Toscano starting with the uplifting opening overture number, “Anything Goes” sounding like a full-sized live orchestra. The Nauti-gals comprising the chorus were Pandora Ahlstrom, Debbie Falcone, Wendy Knapp, Eva Korpela, Connie Lenau, and Trudy Lieb all dressed in various appealing sailor outfits who lip-synced the words to the first verse of “Anything Goes.”
The Captain was joined at the base of the stage, a replica of a wrecked wooden pirate ship, by Cruise Director, Gayle Olson, and the two commenced announcing the farcical fun and spectacular show-stopping routines opening with Donna Gray lip-syncing “You Don’t Own Me.” Interrupting their spiel, Steward Kathy Linder led a ruggedly handsome man with beautiful teeth, wearing more mascara that the showgirls, dressed like a pirate wearing a long tunic, a long white striped sash wrapped around his waist, high rugged brown boots, with messy dreadlocks interspersed with beads under a sleek pirate hat with upturned brim. He claimed to be Captain Jack Sparrow (and he was the spitting image!) saying he had lost the Black Pearl and thought this ship was the one he lost. Not believing his story, the Captain ordered him taken to the brig. He later mixed and mingled with the crowd and posed for many photos.
The opening number was a sexy parody of “Welcome to Burlesque”, a song made famous by Cher from the movie, “Burlesque.” As the vedette dressed in a black leotard, ringmaster jacket, and captain’s hat, Cindy Thiessen lip-synced the spicy song while the nauti-gals transitioned into exotic dancers on the stairs and on the apron of the stage. Up next, Noreen Steinke took to the stage with Sherrie Miller and Diane Noxon, all dressed in neon-hewed hot pink in a self-love song, “Made You Look”, written by Meghan Trainor.
Dressed in black fringe and a curly wig, Julie Anderson, who has been in every Follies since its beginning in 2004, knew how to put the “show” in showgirl with her rendition of Bette Midler’s “Pretty Legs, Great Big Knockers”, a bawdy number that got the crowd cheering.
The Captain approached Lola, expert home wrecker, asking if she could help sway one of the men on board who was getting a little too friendly with one of the girls. After telling the Captain, “Don’t make me brag”, Wendy Knapp, dressed in a very sexy, backless gown, put the zing in “A Little Brains, A Little Talent”, from the Broadway show, “Damn Yankees” showing everyone what she could do and how to do it with emphasis on the latter. Ending the first act was a humorous country song that strikes a chord with most people of a certain age entitled “I Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore.” Originally written for the Snake Oil Willie Band, it was transitioned for a female singing the lyrics which Marilyn Plank lip-synced with self-assurance, ending by exposing her mock bikini T-shirt under her jacket.
The Caribbean-style buffet dinner, catered by Gabriel Valladares with Chef Aline Sangado from the Sheraton Hotel, was served during intermission. The buffet table was adorned with chafing dishes consisting of creamy Caribbean clam chowder, salad greens with honey lime dressing, chicken with mango sauce, Jamaican beef patties with salsa, Trinidad saffron rice, Cuban black beans, and Key Lime tarts.
Opening the second act was Leslie Lampi impersonating Tina Turner in that earthy song, “Proud Mary.” With backups Cindy Dahl, Julie DeGraffrenreid, Barbara Fridland, Joan MacPhail, Karen Wilkinson, and Cristine Wood, the dynamic group burst upon the stage and lit up the place like a fuse.
To calm things down a bit, Carol Georgeson picked up her guitar, ascended the stage while Donna Gray proceeded to sing, “House of the Rising Sun”, only she changed words to “Ship of the Rising Sun.”
Newcomer to the show, Trudy Lieb took on the role of lip-syncing Shania Twain’s rendition of “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” saying that the best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun. Julie Anderson changed into a dazzling red sequined gown, donned a long, blonde wig, a white fur jacket, and took to the stage to belt out lip-sync-style, “Bring on the Men” from the musical “Jekyll & Hyde”, the epitome of carnal desire.
The final performance, led by newcomer Pandora Ahlstrom, told it all in a delightful little country western anthem dedicated to all women regardless of age entitled “Older Ladies.” The entire cast joined in and then took several bows at the end to much applause.
Professional photographer/videographer Jocxan Cazares of Doble Clic took still photos and videos via a drone throughout the evening. Lighting was performed by Salvador Amador Productions. The Production Committee consisted of Julie Anderson, Donna Gray, Susan Halliday, Kathy Linder, Marilyn Plank, Gayle Olson, and Lyn Spicer. Sandra Berry was the Production Coordinator. A Wrap Party was celebrated by the cast and crew on March 30 in the private dining room of La Pintada Restaurant where the video of the event was shown.