Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like. It’s unfortunate that this man didn’t like him back. After what has been an exceptional string of productions from Candlelight Dinner Theatre, unfortunately Will Rogers Follies falls a bit short of expectations.
What the inspirational Rogers story and the blissfully campy Tune numbers are doing on the same stage is hard to explain and even harder to justify, for they fight each other all evening, until finally the book wins and The Will Rogers Follies crash-lands with a whopping thud a good half act or so before Rogers has his fatal airplane crash in Alaska.
The 1991 musical pays tribute to the folksy commentator in the style of a Ziegfeld extravaganza. That is, long, leggy numbers are often interrupted by jokes of wisdom, infiltrated by scenes of family and hearth. The approach tells us more about Ziegfeld than it does Rogers. The script never gets to the meat of the man, a beloved icon known for his no-holds barred political advice and jokes. But it at least inspires curiosity.
Though a majority of the show seemed slow and at times dull, there were moments that were quite appealing. The choreography during a few of the numbers is fantastic.
I can’t finish the review without mentioning the poor sound. Throughout the production microphones popped, creaked, moaned, and in more than one instance you could hear people talking backstage on microphones, which were not turned down by the soundboard.
After viewing previous productions from Candlelight Dinner Theatre, I chalk this production up to a fluke or a bad night (everyone is allowed one). Candlelight has more than proved itself and I’m sure that along with recent stirrings and changes in house, the next production of Bye, Bye Birdie will be a huge success.
Despite a few kinks and issues, Follies on a good night has the potential to be a wonderful way to spend an evening or afternoon. But don’t come alone be sure to bring a friend. The food is terrific, the service impeccable and if they’ve never seen the Candlelight Dinner Theatre they will surely come back for more in the future.
Click here to see more about Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, auditions, Will Rogers Follies or to check out the rest of the upcoming season.
Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
4747 Marketplace Drive
Johnstown, Colorado 80534