The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue

art-415-rogers3Don’t miss CSU, Chico’s spring production of the Tony award-winning Broadway classic, The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue, celebrating the life of superstar Will Rogers in a song and dance spectacular that’s sure to be a treat for the whole family.

This high-energy musical follows the story of Rogers’ life and journey to fame and stardom after leaving home to be a young cowboy performer. “In the early 20th century Will Rogers was one of the biggest celebrities in the world,” says the show’s director Tim McDonald. “He was the first person to conquer all media – stage, film and radio.” And conquer he did. Rogers became a Broadway & film star, humorist, author, radio personality and social commentator. He held a place in the hearts of Americans and in the 1920s and 1930s became our first national “personality.”

What’s great about the show is that it tells Will’s life story through the lens of the Ziegfeld Follies,” says McDonald. The Follies were lavish revues combining comedy, music and dance on a grand scale. “Think of a Vegas show featuring gorgeous gals and guys and extravagant costumes, singing, dancing and doing special tricks – that’s what the Ziegfeld Follies were,” explains McDonald. “Sort of the Cirque Du Soleil of their time.”

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The production features some of CSU, Chico’s most talented theatre students, including Eric Dobson as Will Rogers, Xander Ritchey as Clem, Lauren Sutton-Beattie as Betty Blake, Katie Thornton as Ziedfeld’s favorite chorus girl, and Owen Hansen as Wiley Post.

art-415-rogers`McDonald is the founder and CEO of iTheatrics and a 2010 CSU, Chico Distinguished Alumni. He’s been traveling between Chico and his home in New York to direct the show, which he sees as a unique opportunity: “I started directing musicals in the early 1990s in Chico. Being invited to direct The Will Rogers Follies in 2015 is as close to time travel as I think I’ll ever get – I’m proving that you can go back to the future. Everyone at CSU, Chico has welcomed me back with open arms.”

Audiences can expect truly over-the-top entertainment, including huge production numbers, a 16-piece orchestra on stage, amazing costumes, and cowboy rope tricks taught by one of the world’s best ropers, all telling the story of one of the 20th century’s most beloved figures. Prepare to be amazed!

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