If you're a talented senior age 55 or over, this is the time of year to break out your top hat and spats, spit shine your tap shoes or tune up your ukulele in preparation for auditions for the 2013 Oklahoma Senior Follies.
Auditions will be Jan. 12 and 13 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Petree Auditorium on the first floor of the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Building at Oklahoma City University, 2501 N Blackwelder.
This will be the third annual Oklahoma Senior Follies, directed by OCU's David Herendeen, director of the university's opera and music theater department. The show is a Follies in the style of the Ziegfeld Follies of the early 20th century.
Suffer from stage fright? If you're more the behind-the-scenes patron of the performing arts type, you, too, can be part of the Senior Follies by joining Follies Friends.
The group will promote and support the goals of the Oklahoma Senior Follies, said Bobbie Burbridge Lane, founder of the Follies and President of The Burbridge Foundation that produces the Follies.
“And our goal is to raise more money!” Lane said.
All proceeds from the annual Follies are given to Mobile Meals of Oklahoma County to provide free hot meals to people who because of their frail health or advanced age are homebound.
For 2012, the Foundation donated enough money to pay for about 67,000 meals, but Mobile Meals provides more than 167,000 meals to needy seniors each year.
“So, we're trying to raise 100,000 more hot meals this year,” Lane said. “The only way we can do this is if we come up with more money.”
Lane, a longtime community volunteer, drew on her years of experience raising money for organizations when she came up with a surefire way to raise more money for the Follies.
She knew she couldn't sell more tickets; Oklahoma City University's Kirkpatrick Auditorium only holds so many people and ticket sales have been maxed out each year.
“So what else is there?” Lane said. “Ads!”
She recalled a particular fundraising campaign she helped run for the Oklahoma City Charity Horse Show 50 years ago.
“I decided I would get all these juicy prizes from all these merchants and we'd run a contest for all of our volunteers that were selling ads, instead of them just doing it for the cause, which is plenty good enough,” Lane recalls. “They went nuts!”
That year's Horse Show program was 221 pages long — about two pages for the show itself, Lane said, and the rest was ads. “It was hilarious,” Lane said.
“I think it's wonderful because some people don't feel comfortable being on stage but they love to give support to Mobile Meals — which is a wonderful cause — plus the cause of showing everybody what seniors can still do. They're still kicking, and it makes me really happy,” Herendeen said.
To promote ad sales for this year's Follies, Lane said she'll employ a similar tactic and offer weekly prizes for the top Follies Friends ad salespeople, such as 50,000 free airline miles or designer fur earmuffs.
The contest will culminate with a grand prize of a $2,250.00 gift certificate from facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Lori Hansen.
“So we're going all out,” Lane said.
If you're interested in becoming a Follies Friend, a kickoff event will be at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 10 in the atrium of the OCU Wanda Bass School of Music. The event will include refreshments and performances from some of the Follies' most popular past artists.
For more information about the Follies auditions or about Follies Friends, go online to www.okseniorfollies.com or call 208-5720.