Thirty-three years. Thirty-one years. Twenty-eight years. Some of the cast and crew of the annual Snowdown Follies have been volunteering in the show longer than some participants and audience members have been alive.
They are a dedicated bunch who have been putting on the show for decades, and in a packed house Tuesday night at Durango Arts Center for the media preview, they kept the jokes coming, either as performers or members of the crew.
As we’ve come to expect from the Follies, no subject was off-limits, especially those of the local variety: Texans, parking, marijuana, elected officials. And the jokes were bawdy enough to make this old married woman with three kids blush like a maiden in a Victorian-era novel.
The Follies are split into two casts, A and B, and each begins the evening at one of two venues, the DAC and the Henry Strater Theatre, switching at intermission.
Emceed by Christopher Calagias and Sean Hein as Ace and Gary of “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” for the A Cast and Erin White Sinberg and Valerie Smith as “The Very Beautiful Hulk & Superman” for the B Cast, the four were tasked with keeping the show moving along, which they did in true totally inappropriate Snowdown Follies fashion. In fact, the Follies program apologizes in advance to “All you folk that are miffed, besmirched or psychologically soiled by such tawdry entertainment,” so gird your loins because the show gets pretty, uh, colorful.
Not to give anything away, but if you were lucky enough to score tickets for either the performances at the DAC or Strater, or the videocast at Animas City Theatre this weekend, be sure to keep an eye out for:
Superheroes who have really let themselves go: We’re looking at you, Thor and Supergirl (the hilarious Jonathan Hunt and Rebecca Gilbert). The return of unfortunate fashion accessories (courtesy of Hannah Squire, Mindi Kondrat and Ginny Laidler).A slice of Durango history brought to life ... with the help of a little hooch (featuring Carlos Rocha, Cyle Pete, Peter Diethrich, Charlie Campbell, Rachel Frederico and Kristi Zink).
Two acts explored stages of life as an adult: middle age (Jonathan Hunt, Darryl Hunt and Dawn James-Staten) and being a baby boomer (Erika Hupperts and Betsy Adams). Both are funny takes on what we consider people in those age ranges to be like.
And who knew that Xena, warrior princess, was from the Four Corners?
Opening the show were the dancers of Chorus Line A: Elizabeth Calagias, Elizabeth Russell, Paulette Miller, Erika Morin, Amanda Barnes and Amber Grenhart. The B Cast dancers – Stephanie McKenney, Sharina Ramsey-Adams, Michelle Lashbrooke, Rochelle Park, Liz Mason and Keri McCune – closed out the performance.
As the show wound down to the last notes of the incredibly moving performance of “Flowers” by John Staten and Lisa Govreau, this reporter was in tears of laughter along with most of the people sitting around me.
So, if you have the chance to go to the Follies, either live or videocast, do it. And Happy Snowdown.