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Follies fun for the family

Fathers check their inhibitions at the door and take the stage.

May 12, 2010|By Matt Bellner

Normally, if a large group of middle-aged men dressed as women were dancing in front of children in a public place and charging eight bucks, the cops would be called. I’m happy to report that no police were needed Saturday night when the Fathers of Verdugo Woodlands PTA put on their 63rd annual Fathers’ Follies at the historic Glendale High School auditorium.

To be honest, I had never heard of the “Follies” when my editor asked me to attend. I just used this occasion to take a date to a live show on the paper’s dime but I’m glad I checked out this unique performance.

“Follies” is a dance and comedy show made up of more than 75 fathers who have children at Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School. These men are not professional performers but for two nights they are the biggest stars in Glendale.


This year’s show was called “Toys of the Lost & Found” and included 12 musical numbers that were pieced together by comedy and video bits featuring fathers dressed up as lost toys. Sprinkled within this excitement is a large group of male dancers of all shapes and sizes. These working class men from our city dress provocatively in women’s clothing and perform complicated dance routines while lip-syncing to popular songs from Kei$ha and Lady GaGa.

Words can’t describe how excited the kids in the audience were to see dads dressed as women flaunting their stuff on the big stage. I also witnessed moms, single women and some men getting flustered for different reasons.

Under Bert Ring’s direction, the show moved quickly and somehow the costume department was able to get the Follies dancers in and out of dresses and into high heels for different routines. Those dads definitely have a new respect for how long it takes women to get ready and look beautiful. Ring is also the cartoonist for the Glendale News-Press.

The most refreshing part of the show is the fact that none of these dads are performing to get famous or land an agent. They are doing it for the kids and the message of the show is timeless. That’s why the “Follies” have been putting on performances every year since 1947.

The proceeds from the all-volunteer show are used to help finance Verdugo Woodlands’ operating expenses and by the size of the crowd, I think they made a little cash.

The 2010 show has come and gone and is only a memory but PTA members are already hard at work coming up with new ideas to put fathers in compromising positions for next year.

I’m not a father but someday I hope to be. If that wish is granted, maybe I’ll get a chance to dance in the “Father’s Follies.” Until then, I’ll just have to be an audience member and wait my turn to dress up as a woman.

About the writer MATT BELLNER is an actor and freelance writer who has been writing reviews for this newspaper since 2002.

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