The Talladega Follies are back, and this year the theme is “Talladega Night Fever,” which gives a strong hint of the era the show visits. There are shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m.
With an all “home folk” cast,
“Talladega Night Fever” has a few moments that everyone should see said Tom Wofford, executive director for The Ritz Theatre and Antique Talladega.
Before moving to Talladega to take over the Ritz, Wofford was an actor, stage producer and playwright in Birmingham with more than 30 shows to his credit.
Wofford talks about some of the “must see” moment in the show.
“One is [City Councilman] Donnie Miller singing ‘Boogie Shoes’ by KC and the Sunshine Band with a dance chorus in the best the 70s had to offer in fashion,” Wofford said. “Another is Valerie Hurst singing ‘I Am Woman’ while sporting a handgun,” he said.
“And then there’s Martha Jordan’s Talladega debut as a belting disco singer. She may have a following somewhere else, but I think this is her local singing debut,” Wofford said. “I don’t want to spoil the moment by telling you the song. But it’s great.”
But there’s more.
“Of course, there’s Elvis, right in the middle of it, proving how timeless he is,” Wofford said.
“Talladega Night Fever” is about the Fletcher teenagers, Emily and Skip (played by Allison Montgomery and Boyd McGehee), who find a magic mirror ball while cleaning out the attic and are transported along with their uncle (Tom Wofford) back in time to the 1970s. Amid the garish clothing and primitive technology, they find their parents, Lisa (Brenda George), who is too shy to date, and Steve (Donnie Miller), who is, much to their surprise, a medallion-wearing disco king.
Since dad is in love with “Janine, Janine, the Dancing Machine,” (Cara Camp) and mom doesn’t know how to dance, how are Emily and Skip going to make sure their parents get together while disco dancing at the prom?
How are Skip and Emily going to overcome the ban on disco that Principal Roper (Martha Jordan) has put on the prom?
How can they keep batty English teacher Mrs. Bucket (Gayle McMillan) from hiring Elvis (played as only Roger Dale Parks can do the “King”)?
“Just like last year’s salute to the 1950s, we’re putting on a nostalgic musical/comedy extravaganza, but this time we’re spoofing the 1970s,” Woford said.
“If you remember mood rings, CB radios, “the Hustle” and “Stairway to Heaven,” then you’re going to get a big kick out of this show.”
“Also like last year, it’s an all-star cast of your family, friends and neighbors up on stage acting, singing and boogieing,” Wofford said.
The cast is big, 50 people of all ages, born in five different decades.
“We have lots of people from last year’s Follies, and a lot of new people, too, which is what we wanted,” Wofford said. “The Follies is a great chance for everyone who has wanted to be on the Ritz stage to have a good time up there.”
Cara Camp is the show’s choreographer, and she has designed some great numbers for our superb dance line, Wofford said.
“We’ve got great singers and dancer and actors. The show is very funny and a ton of fun, for the audience as much as the performers,” he said.
“I love the show for the costumes alone,” Wofford said. “If you thought the clothes of the 1970s were wild back when we were wearing them, you can’t imagine how hysterical they look now.”
The costumes, designed by Kim Dometrovich, a veteran Birmingham costumer, are more than 90 percent vintage, designed and manufactured in the 70s.
“The show has something for all ages. There’s humor for those who remember the 70s but no less for those who weren’t there,” Wofford said.
“The ‘70s were formative years for a lot of us, and when I started the script I tried to cram music and ideas from every part of the decade, and it was very hard to cut it down to a manageable size,” Wofford said.
“I made a list of songs I felt like the show had to have, and when I counted it, it had more than 40 songs on it. Needless to say, more had to go than could stay,” he said.
The cast of singers, dancers and actors include Allison Montgomery, Boyd McGehee, Gayle McMillan, Tom Wofford, Ingram McCollum, Chrissie Moore, Presley Griffies, Cason Miller, Benjamin McKay, Riley Rutledge, Darby Caldwell, Maegan Lewis, Savanah Macoy, Peyton Daniel, Linda Smith, Cassidy Daniel, Larry Daniel, Max Caldwell, Donnie Miller, Alex Horn, Adam Stephens, Martha Jordan, Zach Stratton, Diane “Boston” Parks, Lacie McCain, Roger Dale Parks, Rebekah Campbell, Luke Smith, Valerie Hurst, Brenda George, Chandler Browning, Laurel Browning, Rebekah Stober, Shaley Davis and Tyler Montgomery.