The Mid-Columbia Lions Follies will present “Follies in the Ozarks” as its 39th annual show. Dates are April 10, 11, 17 and 18 starting at 7:30 p.m. A matinee performance will be on Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m. All performances are at the historic Hood River Middle School Auditorium.
The Ma and Pa Kettle movies (there were 10 of them) were made in the late 1940s and 1950s. They featured a hillbilly couple who had 15 children and very little money. The series was originally based on real life farmers in Washington State, with the Majorie Main and Percy Kilburn first appearing as neighbors in “The Egg and I.”
In a first for Follies, sponsors will be featured on separate nights. Fox-Tail Cider, Hogg & Davis Inc., and Rivers Edge Towing will each sponsor a night of the show, so expect some special fun on those nights.
The show is a fundraiser for Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation. With the support of many local program advertisers, it has raised in excess of $320,000 over the years. Funds go to aid many Oregon residents who have sight and hearing needs. Among other things, the Foundation helps fund surgeries for individuals and it supports new research in sight and hearing.
nMike Oates has written this year’s Follies based on Ma and Pa Kettle. Bev Bridgewater is the director, assisted by Megan Perkins (vocals), Annette Wahner (choreography), Dorris Greenough (costumes), Tamara Emler Ball (props), and Kim Vogal (assistant director). Oates plays Pa and Sandy Belcher plays Ma. The show is set in the Ozarks, which leads to some fun down-home characters.
In the first half of “Follies in the Ozarks,” Pa is concerned about an upcoming meeting with his banker, so he needs to make sure the place looks profitable. Meanwhile, Ma is handling the arrival of a new grandbaby, growing kids, and making plans for the upcoming spring break when all the kids will be home. Eldest daughter Rosie, played by Sarah Oates, should be getting hitched as she is nearing her 18th birthday. Unfortunately, there are no prospects in sight. Rosie is an animal lover and would rather spend her time playing with the chickens, pigs and other farm animals. Two of her sisters, Gertrude (Emily Hogg) and Kathy (Amy White) help to get Rosie gussied up and ready for suitors. Shane McCarthy plays Billy Barnes, a purveyor of goods and services, and sings the song “Deeper than the Holler.”
The second half of the show continues with Ma and the kids visiting their uncle, Judiah “Jude” Kettle, played by Andy Streich. Jude has a laid back lifestyle with his buddy, Bancroft (Dave Tallman). Megan Perkins plays a sister to Bancroft who is betrothed to Jude, and doing the work of two women for the both of them.
There are more than 50 performers in this year’s show, ranging from age 4 to … well, and up. Some of the students from Hood River Valley High School featured in the show are Jasper Krehbiel, Onar Smith, Sean Gray, Nick Molina, Megan Ball, Emma Dexter, and Ann Marie Goodman. Emily Curtis will perform “Born to Fly” and Savannah Demchuk will sing “Like My Mother Does.”
The music for this year’s show is mainly Country Western. Older songs like “Country Sunshine” and “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That” will be mixed with newer songs like “Good Girl” and “I Want Crazy.” Dave Tallman will sing “Fishing in the Dark” and “Hillbilly Shoes.” Andy Streich will sing “Busy Being Fabulous,” “No Hurry” and sing with Megan Perkins doing “Where Your Road Leads.” A new performer this year is John Stipan from Cascade Locks. He will open the show, leading a production number called “American Kids.” A vocal highlight of the show will be “Seven Bridges Road” performed by the Follies men.
TICKETS AND TIMES
The Follies will be held April 10-11 and 17-18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hood River Middle School Auditorium, with a 2 p.m. matinee April 12.
General admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children under 12; save $1 by purchasing tickets in advance from any Lions Club member, or at McIssac’s Market, Jim’s Market, Mid Valley Market, Windmaster Market, Hood River Adult Center, Hood River Key Bank, Studio 10, Waucoma Bookstore, Postal Annex, Hood River Columbia Bank, White Salmon Riverview Bank, White Salmon Postal Connections, or The Dalles Klindt’s Bookstore. The show is presented for the Oregon Lions Site and Hearing Foundation.