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Route 66 News

Palm Springs Follies entering its final season

The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, which devoted an entire season to the history and culture of Route 66, announced Thursday it was entering its 23rd and final season, “The Last Hurrah!”

The last performance will be May 18, 2014, at the Historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, Calif.

The Follies’ longtime producer and co-director, Riff Markowitz, indicated he and other cast members simply wanted to retire. According to a news release from the Follies:

“It has been an amazing, wonderful ride,” said Markowitz. “We have always adored our Follies, this tiny jewel box theatre, our town and most of all, our people, comprised of the Follies cast and staff—numbering more than a 110 souls. Many folks don’t realize, though, that the Follies is 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., six-days-a-week, eleven or more months of the year. And it’s now time to be with family, grandchildren, friends…and my dog.

“We all feel, however, that we have saved the very best for last. We also take great comfort in knowing that this wonderful theater will continue as a center of Palm Springs’ glamour and show biz legend. We have discussed with Palm Springs International Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner and Mayor Steve Pougnet that next May, when the final curtain of our Follies comes down, a retrofitting will commence in preparation for the theater’s next incarnation.  I know that this historic house, that has contributed so much to our downtown, will continue to be a theatrical and creative focal point in the decades ahead.”

An emailed question Thursday to the Follies’ publicist about ticket sales in recent years went unanswered.

According to The Desert Star newspaper in Palm Springs, the Follies had entertained more than 3 million people since it was founded in 1993. The unique part about the song-and-dance production was many of its performers were well above Social Security age, but showed an energy that was anything but geriatric. The Follies also were credited for rejuvenating Palm Springs’ downtown and providing a glimpse of a rapidly fading vaudeville era.

The Follies dedicated its 2008-2009 season to Route 66, exposing the Mother Road to thousands of audience members. Snippets of that season can be seen in the video above.

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2 thoughts on “Palm Springs Follies entering its final season

  1. Jim Conkle

    It was my pleasure to have worked with all these great folks in making the season a success when the theme was Route 66.
    I have some great photos and memories of the time I spent with the show.
    Some are of Bob Waldmire, Roger Fox and Michael Campanelli.
    In fact just this past week the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville had two of the posters on display in their great booth at the San Bernardino County Fair. I also have photos of that booth.

  2. Ron McCoy

    I’m sorry this show is entering its final season after 23 years. I saw the excellent tribute to 66 in 2009 as well as shows in two other seasons. It is totally professional and, surprisingly, the entire cast ranges in age from 55 to 83 years young.

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