The Will Rogers Follies Brings a Legend to Life at the Candlelight
The 1991 Tony® Award Winning Musical
CLAREMONT, CA – (www.candlelightpavilion.com) Will-a-mania is back with Danny Michaels in his reprise role of the critically acclaimed WILL ROGERS FOLLIES. Spotlighting the glamour of Will’s Ziegfeld Follies days, this spectacular revue encapsulates the straightforward wit and wisdom of America’s favorite son! Winner of six Tony awards and the Grammy award for Best Musical Show Album, you won’t want to miss this extraordinary musical about an extraordinary man.
THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES chronicles the life of Will Rogers and his time with Florenze Zeigfeld and his Follies. The production opens with Rogers introducing the audience to his family and friends and explaining how he left home at 19 to become a cowboy. Throughout the show, Rogers speaks to Zeigfeld, and Zeigfeld often lends his opinion to Rogers as to how he thinks the show should be progressing. Zeigfeld urges Rogers to “meet the girl” and produces a theatrical fantasy compared to the true story of how Rogers met his wife, Betty Blake.
As the show progresses, so does the relationship between Rogers and Blake as well as Rogers’ career. Rogers goes on to play in the Wild West Revue, where at the time, Rogers and Blake were about to be married. Zeigfeld urges the wedding to be delayed because it would make for a great Act I finale. Rogers continues with his show business career and his family begins to grow. He is then given an offer to join the Zeigfeld Follies. By the early 1910’s, Rogers becomes a well know Vaudeville and Radio star and is ready to move onto Hollywood and the world of motion pictures. Just before the curtain falls on Act I, Rogers and Blake are married.
As Act II opens, Rogers is now widely known and highly paid. He has now performed on the stage, on the radio, in films, worked as a famous newspaper columnist and was once asked to run for President. This, however, did not bode well for Betty, as she was lonely. He is able to make up for his absence, but soon, financial troubles hit. The Great Depression is spreading throughout the country and Rogers is asked by Herbert Hoover to give an inspirational speech to the frightened and tired masses. As the show nears its end, so does the life of Will Rogers. Like many famous musicians and performers later to come, Rogers’ life is cut short in a tragic plane crash.
THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES had thirty-three successful previews before it opened on Broadway at the Palace Theater in 1991 where it ran for 981 performances. After the success of its Broadway run, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES moved onto many national tours. In 1991, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES was given eleven Tony® Award nominations and ended up receiving six of the awards including; Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Costume Design and Best Lighting Design. The production also gained four Drama Desk Award nominations, receiving two, including the award for Outstanding Choreography and the award for Outstanding Music.
The talented cast for the Candlelight Pavilion is lead by Orlando Alexander as both Director and Choreographer with Musical Direction by David Lamoureux. The famous role of Will Rogers is reprised by longtime Candlelight Pavilion favorite, Danny Michaels. This will be Danny Michaels last run as Will Rogers. He has perfected the role throughout Southern California, with a few productions at the Candlelight Pavilion itself. You won’t want to miss your chance to see Danny Michaels in his final run as America’s favorite son!
Alongside Danny Michaels, Lisa Dyson will be reprising her role as Betty Blake, with Richard Malmos as Clem Rogers, and Tracy Pedretti as Zeigfeld’s Favorite and in the roles of Rogers and Blakes’ children, Elán Garfias as Will Jr., Nathan Lightfoot as Freddy, Ryan Lightfoot as James, and Alexis M. Winkle as Mary.
The talented supporting cast includes Angel Castellanos, Brandon Heitkamp, Kevin Holmquist and Orlando Montes as the Wranglers, with Lindsay Kristine Anderson, Heather Biede, Claudia Dolph, Laurie Anne Fedor, Catherine Garrison, Christa Hamilton, Jamie Johnson, Adrianna Rose Lyons, Cymbaline Olsen, Anne E. Schroeder, Libby Snyder and Emily Grace Tucker as the Zeigfeld Girls.
THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES opens August 20 at the Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater. Tickets are available by calling (909) 626-1254, ext 1. Regular ticket prices range from $48-$68 which includes both dinner and show. Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more at even lower rates. The Candlelight Pavilion is proud to announce its flexible payment plans to all Season ticket holders; save 10% on season tickets when you book as few as four shows. For more information regarding the 2010 season line-up and ticketing, please visit us online at www.thecpdt.com.
About the Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater
Ben D. Bollinger’s Candlelight Pavilion was founded in 1985. Since then, the Candlelight Pavilion has produced over 170 professional shows from classic musicals to contemporary favorites. From Broadway performers to local professionals, the Candlelight Pavilion has an array of talented actors, directors and choreographers that have remarkable credentials.
The production staff has worked for acclaimed companies such as Disney, and has produced shows both nationally and internationally. The Pavilion is a 299 seat house offering fine dining and theater. From cozy round tables for two up front to larger tables of eight, comfortable booths, and even private balcony rooms the Candlelight Pavilion is an elegant place to spend any evening. Dining at the Candlelight Pavilion includes waiter-served meals instead of typical dinner theater buffets. The flavorful cuisine sets a dinner theater standard of its own.