Joe Tahoe reveals truths of the Incline Star Follies

12 Apr 2006 - 2:59pm

North Lake Tahoe Bonanza: Being seated with Ted and Joan Fuller added an enormous measure of charm to an evening filled with pleasant surprises. Having missed a couple of years, I was astounded at the level of excellence, and when comparing it to the Follies of 22 years ago at the Biltmore, where Joe Bourdeau and I bounced off a few other reprobates, well, there is no comparison. Be thankful for lip-sync.

The first pleasant surprise to catch my attention was the appearance of Hispanics on stage. The mixing of Latin blood into the production was a warm and welcome addition to what used to be the whitest show in show business, and with 50% of our kindergarteners now Latino, it's important that their families be involved and contribute to the Follies.

My next surprise, which leads me to believe I need to get out more, was that I recognized only about half of the adult cast, and one of those, the one wearing the size 14 high heels, I would not admit to knowing.

Some glaring truths came home to me right away: Tom Canino can't dance, but is one hell of an English teacher. Cathi Colvin can dance AND handle real estate with graceful ease. John Clark can look like Jack Nicholson behind a desk, but Gene Kelly on stage. Joy Michiel always looks good; that girl could call Monday Night Football and make Al Michaels look sick. We knew Erin Roth could write, we knew Erin Roth could edit, but how many of us knew Erin Roth could shimmy like Bette Midler? And Vince D'Ascoli has come a long way since selling newspapers on the corner of 28 and Country Club as a kid. The Follies might have been full of crooked-thoothed kids were it not for Vince. Alan LeBard and Aliya Agins made some moves that were jaw-dropping, and Wayne Cameron carries himself like Fred Astaire searching for Ginger Rogers. Of course, Danny Bell will shed light on any occasion, but the actor who stole my heart and stomped it flat this year was Jim Nakada. I don't know how old Jim is, but I know he's older than Smokey the Bear, and to get up there and hoof it with the kids, well, Jim, you got my respect.

I did experience one embarrassing moment during the break when I ran into my physician, Dr. Koch, who barely recognized me, and asked where I had been. I told her I had been feeling really good for the past ten years, and did not really need a physical. Her eyebrows arched, but she mercifully refrained from giving me a public scolding. If my memory serves me, the last time I saw the good doctor on a professional level the conversation went something like this:

  • "Try to relax."
  • "That's an oxymoron."
  • "You are not here, Mr. Tahoe, to give me an English lecture."

But getting back to the Follies, the grand finale was the best part of the whole night. Harry Hasser, one of my many heroes in this village, led the entire cast in a stirring rendition of God Bless the USA, and if that didn't bring you to your feet and give you chicken skin, then you had better check yourself into the Evening-Shades Rest Home.

Thank you Dave Colarchik, Chris & Patti Plastiras, Ron Stichter, Don Hertel, the Cal-Neva, and the selfless others who gave so freely of their time and talent. It was a really good show for a really, really good cause.

McAvoy Layne
Special to the Bonanza

McAvoy Layne lives in Incline Village and visits schools throughout Nevada as the ghost of Mark Twain.

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