The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies
The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies was a Ziegfeld Follies style dance and musical review show that played at the historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, California, United States, seasonally from November to mid-May. The Follies was founded in 1990 by Riff Markowitz and Mary Jardin. Impresario Markowitz also served as the show's Managing Director and Emcee. The show was often credited with helping to revitalize and maintain the downtown area by bringing in patrons from around the globe. The Follies was unique in that it only featured performers 55 and older and holds Guinness World Records for this claim to fame. It was the subject of a short documentary titled Still Kicking: The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies which was nominated at the 70th Academy Awards for Best Short Subject Documentary. A segment that aired on Seattle television station KOMO-TV that featured the Follies received an Emmy in 1997. The shows attracted approximately 170,000 attendees yearly.:206 On June 5, 2013, co-founders Markowitz and Jardin announced they would close the Follies on May 18, 2014.
The Follies had a cast of both featured and guest performers.
Featured Follies performers included:
- Guinness Book of Records "World's Oldest Still Performing Showgirl" (at age 87) Beverly Allen:205
- Original Broadway West Side Story cast member Hank Brunjes
- Actor, singer, dancer, writer and choreographer Leonard Crofoot
- Broadway musical Dreamgirls cast member Stephanie Eley
- Dancer Randy Doney, who performed with Mitzi Gaynor
- Popular singer Gogi Grant
- Dancer and showgirl Dorothy Kloss
- Bud and James Mercer, long time vaudeville performers and musicians
- Sitcom Blansky's Beauties cast member Jill Owens
- Broadway and television actress Kit Smythe
- Dancer, skater, entertainer Lou De Grado
Guest performers (headliners) included:
- Brad Cummings and Rex – a comedic ventriloquist variety act (2011–2012)
- John Davidson – singer and comedian (2011–12)
- The Diamonds – a Canadian Doo-Wop quartet (2011–12)
- Maureen McGovern – singer and Broadway actress (2011–12)
- Anna Maria Alberghetti – operatic singer and actress
- Kaye Ballard – actress, comedian and singer
- The Four Aces – male pop music quartet
- Buddy Greco and spouse Lezlie Anders – singer and pianist; singer
- Howard Keel – actor and singer
- Frankie Laine – singer, songwriter and actor
- Peggy March – pop singer
- Peter Marshall – television and radio personality, actor and singer
- Barbara McNair – singer and actress
- The Mills Brothers – jazz and pop vocal quartet
- The Modernaires – vocal group
- Donald O'Connor – dancer, singer and actor
- Trina Parks – actress, vocalist, choreographer, and dancer; known for playing "Thumper" in Diamonds are Forever
- Kay Starr – pop and jazz singer
- Ralph Young – of singing team Sandler and Young
- Johns, Howard (2005). Palm Springs Confidential: Playground of the Stars. Barricade Books. p. 320. ISBN 1-56980-297-1.
- Marshall, Don (April 24, 2005). "Seniors shine in follies". Deseret Morning News. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Publishing Co. Retrieved March 29, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
- Markowitz is a television show creator/producer whose work includes the cult classic The Hilarious House of Frightenstein and HBO's The Hitchhiker.
- "'It Was Twenty Years Ago Today!' How The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies Became So Fabulous". Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Kleinschmidt, Janice (July 27, 2004). "Follies mean business for local economy". The Public Record. Desert Publication, Inc. & Sharon Apfelbaum. Retrieved March 29, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
- "Article/Video: Fabulous Palm Springs Follies Is Still Kicking". AARP. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
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- Niemann, Greg (2006). Palm Springs Legends: creation of a desert oasis. San Diego, CA: Sunbelt Publications. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-932653-74-1. OCLC 61211290. (here for Table of Contents)
- Fessier, Bruce (June 5, 2013). "Palm Springs Follies set to exit stage left: Vaudeville-era entertainment revue will begin last season on Nov. 1.". The Desert Sun. Palm Springs, CA. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
- "Beverly Allen, who was a showgirl at 87, dies in Los Angeles". AP Worldstream. Press Association, Inc. December 21, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
- Kamzan, Josh (October 6, 2003). "James W. Mercer". Daily Variety. Reed Business Information.
- Mireya Navarro (2 January 2005). "So Very Alive and Kicking". New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Mitchell, Gordon "Whitey" (2006). Star Walk: A Guide to the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. Palm Springs, CA: Hall/Sloane. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-9638683-4-3. OCLC 810234068.
- Palm Springs Follies: New Show
- "Palm Springs Follies pays tribute to the golden age of burlesque". Redlands Daily Facts. Los Angeles Newspaper Group. August 4, 2004. Retrieved March 29, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
- "Kaye Ballard joins Palm Springs Follies". Redlands Daily Facts. Redlands, CA. March 10, 2005.
- "Palm Springs Follies Opens". Inland Empire Business Journal. Daily Planet Publishing, Inc. November 1, 2004. Retrieved March 29, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
- Archerd, Army (March 23, 2004). "Just for Variety. (Celebrity Gathering)". Daily Variety. Reed Business Information, Inc. Retrieved March 29, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
- Sullivan, Paul. "Donald O'Connor hospitalized with pneumonia". Boston Herald. and "Donald O'Connor Returning to State". AP Online. Associated Press. May 13, 1999.
- "Celebrate 26th Annual Black History Month with Host of Fun and Educational Events in February!". US Fed News Service, Including US State News. Palm Springs, CA: The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. February 7, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
- "Ralph Young, big band singing legend, dies". AP Worldstream. Associated Press. August 27, 2008.
- Purdy, Greg, ed. (2012). "Music Men's Skills, Expertise Provide Melodic Sparkel to the Folies". Follies Confidential. The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies: 13.