News Column

Rancho Cucamonga Silver Fox Follies prepare for September show

August 9, 2014

By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif.

Aug. 09--RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- It all started with a trip to Palm Springs seven years ago.

That was when Richard Morris saw a production of the Palm Springs Follies and was inspired to bring it to Rancho Cucamonga.

At first, the Silver Fox Follies was a way to showcase for different programs offered at the James L. Brulte Senior Center, Morris said. Through the years it has grown and focused on past themes such as the Big Band era.

"This year I thought I would specialize it a bit and go with the music of Irvin Berlin. He wrote 1,500 songs so I had to narrow it down a bit," Morris said as he laughed.

The production of "We Remember: The Music of Irving Berlin," will be held on Sept. 7, at the Lewis Family Playhouse.

There are 26 songs for the production which includes vignettes about the songs, as well as a performances from about half a dozen youth, Morris said.

"Berlin's music in American's music --he's probably the greatest songwriter in America," he said.

It's a good family show and everyone will enjoy it, he said.

The Lewis Family Playhouse seats 550 people and the organizers are hoping to not only sell out the Sept. 7 date but add a second show.

Everybody, including Morris and his mother, volunteer their time to put on the annual show. Proceeds from the show will go toward the senior transportation as well as the city program IncredAbles which provides programs for kids with disabilities.

Over the past seven years, the Follies has raised $30,000 for both the programs, Morris said.

"We wish we would raise more. If we had a little more support than we could have more than one performance," he said.

Morris has been the director all seven years of the Follies. He credits not only the countless seniors who have been in the program but his mother Patricia, who has helped produce the show. She agreed. And he couldn't do it without Ryan Sample, who runs the senior center, for always supporting their program.

Auditions for the show actually began in January, said David Somers, who is in the show.

"We rehearse for this all year," Somers said. "It's always fun to do but it's a lot of work, people come to rehearsals to donate their time."

This year's show will have 50 cast members, and there has been as many as 90 in past productions, Morris said.

"The people who participate are either semi professional but most of the people who do are the ones who always wanted to get out and perform but never had the opportunity," Morris said.

Don't let their novelty fool you, the group rehearses for three hours every Monday at the senior center but they also spend countless hours practicing on their own.

For Morris, he said he estimates he dedicates 2,000 hours getting ready to put on the performance.

"This is a full Broadway production so we get right down to it," he said. "It's a lot of fun."

Morris, who is semi-retired, said the September production will be the 108th he has directed.

"It gives me a chance to still have my name in doing what I like to do," he said. "You don't do theater for the money but as a money-raising event, you want to try to sell out the show because it gives us an opportunity to make more money for the programs."

The show is at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Lewis Family Playhouse box office, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, and the James L. Brulte Senior Center, 11200 Base Line Road.

For more information, 909-477-2780.


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Source: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (CA)

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