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Fun with the Follies

By Caleb R. Johnson

Selma Times-Journal

Every three years, members of the Selma Charity League, along with a few friends, gather at the Selma Country Club for a time-honored tradition.

For hours each night, they dance, sing, laugh and get better acquainted with one another, while preparing for a variety show. After three weeks of rehearsals, they hit the stage and perform “The Fabulous Follies.”

It has been this way for 70 years and probably will stay this way for 70 more.

“It really is fun, and you get to know people,” said Selma Charity League President Beth Pearce.

“The Fabulous Follies: Celebrating 70 Sensational Years of Follies” will take place Friday and Saturday at the Larry D. Striplin Performing Arts Center. Friday’s performance begins at 7 p.m. after a cocktail hour. The charity league will perform twice Saturday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. and another cocktail hour and performance 7 p.m. The show will feature singing, dancing, a kick line and various skits.

“It should appeal to everyone,” Pearce said.

Pearce said the event has always received tremendous support from the community. The charity league has hit its funding mark with every performance of “The Fabulous Follies.”

“We’ve been blessed to make enough each time,” Pearce said. “The success of ‘The Follies’ is crucial to our organization.”

All proceeds will fund the charity league’s fundraiser projects for the next three years. League members volunteered more than 3,000 hours in 2007. They tutored students in Selma City Schools, visited the United Methodist Children’s Home and played bingo with residents at Cedar Hill Assisted Living, just to name a few.

Aside from raising money for charity league projects, the event is a chance to catch up with old friends and make new friends.

“You think you know everybody in Selma, and your eyes are opened,” Pearce said. “It really is fun to get to know people.”

Milburn Amy is one of those new folks. Amy produced and directed “The Fabulous Follies” three years ago, and he is back this year. Amy said this year’s show is shaping up well, and he just wants everyone to be at ease.

“It makes the whole experience enjoyable for everybody,” he said.

Everyone enjoys it so much that they come back year after year. Nancy Travis was “The Fabulous Follies” chairwoman in 1982 during the 50-year celebration. Now 20 years later, she is still participating. She has not lost a step, according to Pearce.

“She has a beautiful voice,” she said of Travis.

Travis is more than happy to lend her voice for charity’s sake.

“The money goes to such a good cause,” she said.

Tickets are selling fast but are still available at Tutu’s and The Lily Pad. Tickets for the evening performances cost $30, and matinee tickets cost $20.