Auditions held for annual Senior Follies show

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Veterans of the show and some new faces are ready to begin rehearsals on the annual Senior Follies, which is set for May 31 to raise money for Meals on Wheels.

The talent got a tryout last week during auditions at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center. All were there with one hope in mind -- to impress Brian Frishman, director of this year's Senior Follies show.

Most sang a familiar number. Some brought their own cassette of music, a couple sang a cappella, while most were accompanied by music director Bobbie Hancock. Even the dance troops "Golden Girls" and "Reno Stompers" showed their stuff.

"I think there's a lot of talent here to do the show," Frishman said. "I've viewed previous shows on video tape to get an idea of what they do and it seemed like they have the talent."

Frishman was recommended to T.J. Gioia, producer of the show, for the job of director. Gioia has been the director each year the show has been on stage, but due to recent and upcoming surgeries, he chose not to direct.

"It's hard sitting on the sideline," Gioia said. "It's not easy, but, that's the way it is. It's my choice."

Gioia said overall the auditions went very well. He also said the audience will be overwhelmed and on their feet for the production.

"One woman said she wanted to be in the show, she wanted to help," he said. "She was greeted, accepted and asked to join. She also was invited by both dance troops to join them. That's what the Follies are all about. These people help others overcome their problems."

The camaraderie is pretty much what makes the show happen. Support and encouragement go a long way.

"I'm ready to get started," Hancock said. "I'm not sure of all the music selections yet. I think Brian's still working on it. But I'm ready to go."

Rehearsals begin March 6 and are held each Wednesday until the show begins May 31.

"What we will be doing is a musical and comedic journey through American history," Frishman said to the crowd.

"I'm going to work you a lot in one evening, until you know what to do. We'll go over and over a number until it's right."

Frishman said the production will be rewarding and exasperating. He has big credits to his work history, including working with Steven Spielberg, Marti Ritt, Charles Marowitz and current Broadway director, John Rando. He is the director of theatre for Sage Ridge School in Reno, and has appeared on stage, film and television.

"I've never worked with seniors before,' he said. "This will be a group of about 50 to 60. And I haven't done a variety show. That's why I was interested to do this show. It should be fun."

The annual Senior Follies show is a fund-raiser for the Meals on Wheels program. The program provides between 160-180 meals daily for the homebound. In the past eight years, the show has donated more than $50,000 to the program.


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