Full disclosure: This was my first Snowdown Follies.
I’m not quite sure how I managed to not go to a single show in the 22 years I’ve lived in Durango, mostly a combination of having to work and never getting my mitts on tickets.
So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the Henry Strater Theatre on Tuesday night for media night. First, let me tell you, the place was packed. I know these shows sell out fast, and there’s quite a scramble to buy tickets privately in the days leading up to the performances, but I wasn’t expecting the crowd there was at media night.
And when the show began, I was pleasantly surprised: It was funny, and raunchy, and, for someone who’s a pretty big fan of both funny and raunchy, I was totally in my element.
The show began with the B cast, with the opening chorus line blasting onto the stage (with a robot companion) to “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys, rolling into another group of dancers doing “These Boots are Made for Walkin’.”
Emcees Jonathan Hunt and Andre Pierre-Louis took the stage next as Captain Kirk and Jamal Picard (Jean-Luc Picard’s half-brother). The two were thrown together in the Starfleet Remedial Academy, and Kirk was trying to get his mojo back – and was looking to jump into Durango’s challenging dating pool.
After the two made the audience stand for the “Star Trek” anthem, it was time to get down to business.
“The Blues Sistahs” – Rebecca Gilbert and Lisa Govreau, along with Derek Ryter – proved that no topic is safe from Follies satire: Among others, the Arc of History, sewage plant and the now-defunct Sports Authority were all in the hot seat.
As the Follies’ first act went on, there were plenty of plot twists to be had in virtually every act – not to give anything away, but suffice it to say, any questions you may have about finding a man in Durango, what characters really do on “Sesame Street” or dating an alien may all be answered in less than an hour.
After the nine acts that made up the first half of the show, the B cast switched with the A cast that had been performing at the same time at the Durango Arts Center.
The second half started with two new emcees: Tim Maher as Howard Cosell and Ashley Hein playing Sarah Palin. Both Maher and Hein were spot-on with their impressions of the unlikely pair.
“Obi Wan’s Going Out Tonight” – a song-and-dance routine featuring some “Star Wars” favorites and a surprise twist was first up, followed by an informercial for some handy, uh, devices, courtesy of “Baytucky Enterprises.”
The audience was also treated to “Random Thoughts on Extraterrestrials” by a funny Chad Peyer, “Space Pants” brought to you by longtime Durango dancers Suzy DiSanto and Jessica Perino and “Dicken’s Deck,” featuring Steve and Mary Jill DeBelina, Chuck Fredrick, David Culver and Penney Stahl.
In one of the funniest skits of the evening, three alien abductees are questioned by a government agent in “Close Encounters.” Featuring Lisa Zwisler, Linda Brockway, Jodi Zuber and Michael Chapman, apparently, not all abductions are the same.
The night ended with the closing chorus line and an extended cast bow that turned into a dance party on stage, with members of the audience being pulled up to join in.
All in all, this year’s show, which will run through the weekend, was a funny, raunchy romp for this Follies first-timer and a great way to spend a Tuesday night in the middle of winter.