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Follies for a Good Cause

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Follies for a Good Cause

The 11th annual production of the Follies debuts on the Panida Stage March 8

It was 11 years ago when Marsha Ogilvie—now mayor of Sandpoint but then just a downtown business owner—partnered with Eichardt’s publican Jeff Nizzoli and began twisting arms to help create a Mardi Gras celebration for Sandpoint. The Angels Over Sandpoint, looking to increase the amount of money they raise i to provide support for Bonner County residents going through hard times, jumped on board and The Follies was born. A variety show (a raunchy, risque variety show, in the tradition of Mardi Gras), featuring the talents of local performers, The Follies is now in its 11th year and has become a must-see performance for locals in-the-know. This year’s production will take place at Sandpoint’s Panida Theater on March 8 and 9.

“Those of us who have been in the Follies all these years are amazed every year as we watch the popularity continue to grow,” said Kate McAllister, the marketing chair for the Follies, one of its most popular performers (as the Queen of Ireland), and a past President of the Angels. “We began as part of the Sandpoint Mardi Gras celebration that the town put on for years. Then when Mardi Gras went away, the Follies kept going.”

It’s not a show for the faint-at-heart. Bawdy language is raised to an art form (sometimes), costumes can be scanty, and seemingly no topic is off limits. But the show is saved from B-Street burlesque by the sheer talent shown by each and every performer. From music to dance to humorous skits, the viewer can expect a professional grade performance in a first-class production.

A lot of credit can go to Deb McShane who, as Director of the show, brings her many years of performance experience to the project, along with the production excellence headed up by Dave Nygren (who is also the production manager for the Festival at Sandpoint) and his crew of back-stage, sound, and lighting specialists.

“Who knew this unique, ‘naughty’ little show would grow into an international sensation (yes, Canada is international),” laughed Kate. “It comes down to supply and demand; the public has demanded it and the Angels Over Sandpoint have supplied a magnificent performance every year! We preformers feel honored to be a part of it, and if being ‘naughty’ will raise over $30,000 in one weekend to help those who can’t help themselves, then we will all be there to encourage the donations.”

The group is sensitive to those who want to support the cause, but are uncomfortable with the nature of this annual variety show, which provides such a large percentage of its funding. “If the Follies offends those with delicate sensibilities, the Angels offer other fundraisers such as the High Tea the first Saturday in May. It is quite lovely and everyone is very civily spoken,” Kate explained. And there’s also the opportunity to make direct donations to this 501c3 charity whose work is ever more important in a county of growing needs. 

“All monies raised goes to help those in need in Bonner County,” said Kate. “This time of year we see an increase in requests due to the cold weather and all that entails with heat, lights and rent assistance. We are a grass roots organization dedicated to helping a community in need when there is nowhere else to turn. As an all-volunteer group, we rely on generous benefactors to make our giving possible and unfortunately there is never enough to help everyone.”

This year’s show will feature Andrew Sorg as emcee, a crowd favorite since his first performance (“Dick in a Box”) and a leading light in the local theater scene. He’ll preside over two nights of talent, taking place March 8 and 9 at Sandpoint’s Panida Theater. Doors open at 7 pm each night and the show begins at 8. Tickets are just $25 each and are available for purchase online at SandpointGeneralStore.com, or at Eve’s Leaves, Petal Talk, and Eichardt’s Pub, all in downtown Sandpoint. This show tends to sell out fast, so don’t wait to get your tickets. As we go to press, Petal Talk is already sold out of their tickets for Saturday night’s show.

“Once again the acts that have been chosen from the two nights of auditions are going to be priceless and guaranteed to make you laugh and shake off winter for an evening,” Kate promised. “It’s a great time to gather with friends and celebrate each other. We will have redneck drinking glasses this year and some other really great surprises!  Remember, you must be 21 or older to get in and please, if you are easily offended, don’t even think about it.”

Web Update: Both shows are sold out.

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Landon Otis

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Homepage, Headlines, The Follies, Deb McShane, Andrew Sorg, The Angels Over Sandpoint, Kate McAllister

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