Incline Star Follies Celebrates 10 years

11 Mar 2009 - 11:54am

North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Kyle Magin

The full cast of Incline Star Follies 2009 throws its hands in the air during the rehearsal of "puttin' on the Ritz" Friday night at the high school.

The full cast of Incline Star Follies 2009 throws its hands in the air during the rehearsal of "puttin' on the Ritz" Friday night at the high school.
Bonanza Photo - Jen Schmidt

Tim Callicrate lip-syncs and acts out the introduction to the full cast's closing number, "That's Enertainment," during Incline Star Follies rehearsals Friday at the elementary school.

Tim Callicrate lip-syncs and acts out the introduction to the full cast's closing number, "That's Enertainment," during Incline Star Follies rehearsals Friday at the elementary school.
Bonana Photo- Jen Schmidt

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. —When the curtains rise Friday, April 3 for Incline Star Follies the audience will see an event which has grown over 10 years.

It grew from a relatively small operation, a show in the Incline High School auditorium which yielded about $10,000 annually to a major production in the Cal Neva’s Frank Sinatra ballroom, drawing sellout crowds, $50,000-plus in revenue and attracting nearly every facet of the Incline Village community.

When the curtains rise, they’ll see a community event which has withstood the test of time where so many, many others have faltered.

When the curtains rise, they’ll see a show.

Incline’s Star Follies started as a borrowed idea in the mind of former resident Debbe Deverill. When she moved with her husband to Incline from San Diego, in the late 1990s, she’d experienced Star Follies, the lip-synch musical for charity, firsthand and knew of director Don Hertel. She immediately thought the idea was a hit and thought it would work in Incline.

To get the ball rolling, Deverill approached friend and resident Linda Offerdahl for ideas about what groups could benefit from such a program.

“I approached Linda Offerdahl about starting the Follies up here and wanted to know what the most needy charity would be,” Deverill said. “She said one of the most needy causes she knew of would be the schools.”

So, the two started working on the event, which they agreed would fund the Elementary’s School’s PTA.

The IHS auditorium was booked, cast members were contacted, and a doctor by the name of Joy Koch got a call.

“Debbe approached me and said she had gotten this idea for the show,” Koch said. “She wanted me to be in it. I looked at her and said ‘I don’t have any talent,’ but she said it was fine, so I said I’d be there.”

When the curtains go up on April 3, Koch will be in the show, much as she was in 2000, and every intervening year. She is the only 10-year member of the show.

“In the second year I got an e-mail to be in the show and I didn’t e-mail back,” Koch said. “Debbe e-mailed me back and asked me to join, so I said if you can’t fill the spot, I’ll be there. By the third or fourth year I came back because it was just so much fun.”

The show has changed since those early days. Most importantly, said current organizer Kathie Goldberg, it doesn’t take place in the High School, but rather the Cal Neva.

“Since we’ve been at the Cal Neva the show is a lot classier,” Goldberg, who has been involved since 2001, said. “It’s more professional and definitely has a feeling of improved quality.”

The show moved to the Cal Neva in 2002.

Casts have grown slightly larger and students are more eager to join, said fellow organizer Ron Stichter, who has been involved since 2002.

“Back then we had so much trouble trying to get kids in it, they just weren’t excited about it,” Stichter said. “I don’t know what changed, but we have to turn kids away now and they are getting better and better. Now it’s at the point where kids can’t wait to get to fifth grade, eighth grade and their senior year to participate.”

One constant has been Hertel, who Deverill credited with much of the show’s success. And, she said, the show is easy to run because it draws community members in to participate.

" I saw this could bring a cause to everyone because it was something they could participate in,” Deverill said. “You can see the synergistic effect.”

Stichter said the show has remained attractive to the community because of the children who participate in it, something Goldberg echoed.

“We always tell the kids that the people in the audience are mostly there to see them,” Goldberg said.

Another constant has been the ticket prices, which Stichter said he’s proud to say have never been raised.

Premium seats still cost $50, wing seats $35 and general theater seats are $25, just as they were in 2000. Students see the show for $10 and all tickets are available from the Potlatch.

As for its staying power, the show’s year-in-and-out success, Koch attributes it to the level of organization, Goldberg partly attributed it to the participants, who each year come out with more and more elaborate costumes.

Deverill said the show spawns great feelings in the participants and audience.

“I think the staying power is the magical nature of the show,” Deverill said. “It transforms the children and parents who participate in it into nearly professional stars... It’s all very positive, it’s a sort of escape and that positive feeling stays with you for a long time.”

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