What: Follies 2013, a variety show
Where: Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee, 123 N. Wenatchee Ave.
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 1, 2; 1 p.m. Feb. 2
Tickets: $28 to $32.
Information: wenatcheefollies.com or 663-2787
WENATCHEE — Laughter and spontaneous applause cut the tension Sunday as 146 people tried out for song and dance routines.
That was OK with Follies director Jaimie Donegan.
“I love it when people come alive,” he said. “You watch them shrink in fear when they audition, then blossom into joy and excitement when they start getting it.”
Donegan is in his fifth year of directing the Wenatchee Follies, which will hit the stage at the Performing Arts Center Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and 2. Donegan is a New York City resident who travels the country putting on homegrown shows.
The fundraiser, put on by the Wenatchee Follies Guild, comes around every three years. It usually raises $35,000 to $50,000 for a community service organization, said Delcie Mott, a guild member and a Follies dancer since 1995. This year, the event will raise money for Solomon’s Porch and Wellness Place.
“I can’t think of anything that brings people together so well in such a fun way,” she said.
Follies is a musical review variety show, featuring upbeat songs, dances and skits. It began in Wenatchee in 1948. Most of those trying out were middle-aged. About 90 percent were women.
Auditioners took the stage in groups, trying out for various types of acts. Between try-outs, they shared their thoughts on the community event.
“I love that everyone comes together as a family at the end and I love the glitter and shine of it all,” said auditioner Megan McCord. “I’m just a Follies fanatic.”
“It brings the community together and everyone is jumping out of their box and trying something new,” said Traci Thompson.
“I love meeting new people and seeing a lot of old friends,” said Dave Parks, whose performed in the local Follies for the past 20 years.
Many people tried out for the large groups, like the kick line. Bailey (Northcott) McMonagle was waiting for a smaller role. The 22-year-old has a heart condition that required open-heart surgery five months ago. She can’t move around on stage for long periods.
“I sit on the couch a lot so it’s really great for me to get up on stage and not be me for a little while,” she said. “On stage, I can escape.”
Most of those who tried out got one or more of the 439 positions in the show, said Sheila Salmon, a guild member and one of the organizers. She noted that some people do only one act and some are involved in four or five acts.
And those who didn’t get in? Salmon said they are welcome to help back stage “and, hopefully, they will buy a ticket to the show.”
Dee Riggs: 664-7147