By Follies member Timmi Jernigan
If you have never attended Anderson Senior Follies’ annual March production, by all means add it to your Bucket List! For 35 years, this premier southeastern performance group in Anderson, SC has showcased the talents of countless musicians, actors, dancers, vocalists and comedians, all over the age of 55.
If your first thought is “Oh how sweet, a bunch of slow-moving, has-beens performing dusty old numbers for other old people, I am here to shatter that misconception! Best ye prepare for an energetic, fast-paced, creatively choreographed and costumed production with amazing staging that will delight you every step of the way, regardless of your own age!
Did I mention hilarious? The humor woven into each year’s original script keeps you in a state of mirth, until the next song tickles your memory. I guarantee you will walk away feeling uplifted.
I first caught wind of this amazing group of performers when a small subset of members, known as “Follies to Go,” performed during a luncheon at Utica Baptist Church in Seneca. I knew before the final number commenced that I had found my tribe. The energy, the talent, the humor, and camaraderie were on full display as I basked in the songs of my yesteryear.
Our Director, Mary Nickles, is also the show’s Producer. An energetic, creative, fun-loving, whip-cracking multi-tasker, she has the unique ability to spotlight and cultivate each performer’s particular gifts (including ones we are unaware of) and bring the best parts of each one of us to the stage. She has us performing in ways we never imagined!
As Producer, she has her hand in every stage of development, from script-writing to choreography, costuming, music, set, sound, lighting— you name it. Collaborative by nature, she attracts an array of talent to help design and flesh out these components to carry out her vision. Hence, our production excels with an amazing live band, experienced choreographer, a team of creative costumers within our own ranks, just to highlight a few.
I think it is safe to say that Mary inspires us all through her sheer belief in us. Last year I watched her work with a group of cast members on drumming skills for a particular number. Only a couple of them had even picked up drumsticks prior to this, yet by the end of practice, Mary sat smiling and keeping time in the middle of a veritable drum circle, rhythm and cadence defying their novice. This was their first practice for the number!
I like to think we all have a spark of the Divine inside us— a creative spirit not unlike our Father’s in its desire to burst forth and make beautiful things, if we but give over and let His Spirit show us vast, amazing possibilities.
It’s faith, really. Faith that the creation we envision will be made manifest. This is the secret ingredient to the annual spring production by Anderson Senior Follies. Each year, no matter the complexity, we collectively believe it into being.
Rehearsals are well underway for the 2024 show, entitled “Bucket List,” which runs from March 7th through 10th at Anderson University’s beautifully renovated Henderson Auditorium.
Call the box office at 864-231-2080 Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from noon until 3:00, or visit andersonseniorfollies.org for tickets.