Park City Follies tell an East Side Story
The East Side took some hits; Dana Williams joined the show, and a lot of people laughed. So the Park City Follies go.
The Park City-specific parody play ran this past weekend at the Egyptian Theatre, offering the town a chance to make fun of itself and see some institutions poked while making a mud-season weekend a little bit brighter.
Park City certainly turned out to see the show. In 2006, the Follies was more popular than ever. For the first time, the play opened up one of its dress rehearsal, effectively providing the city with an additional performance, and increasing the total follies run to three days. Parkites replied by buying more than 200 seats for the dress rehearsal. Both weekend shows sold out.
Looking out at the nearly full house on Thursday, Follies organizer Debbie Walsh made an observation.
"It doesn’t feel much like a dress rehearsal," she said.
Without attending one of the play’s other showings, a viewer couldn’t have very easily told the difference either. The Thursday evening performance mostly lacked microphones, but otherwise ran much the same as the Friday night show.
In the performance, the Follies writers including Walsh, Annette Velarde, Frank Normile, Pam Wylie, Terry Moffitt and Tom Clyde presented a parody of "West Side Story," Summit County-style.
"East Side Story" had two rival gangs the Park City and Snyderville Basin-bound "Kings," and the East Side residing "Studs" the forbidden love between Mackenzie, daughter of King, and Lehi, a stud, and the big night out as always in Park City, a fundraiser, the "Jan’s Friends of the Homeless Norwegian Wine Tasting Pets on a Historic Starry First Night" benefit.
The story poked fun at Park City’s wealth, Summit County’s affordable housing, mercenary real estate agents and the East Side’s jerky. Mackenzie’s childhood home in Bald Eagle was illustrated as massive hilltop Bavarian castle Neuschwanstein, while afterward, without much money she and Lehi moved into a development where people live in Hummers. The Hummers sell for $4 million each.
As the story portrayed Mackenzie’s and Lehi’s relationship ultimately with a happy ending video clips take up the times between the scenes. There were skits about "Wrong at Home," a divorce-fueled furniture consignment store, and clips of Park City’s morning shows, along with several appearances by Vernal and LaVon, the Provo-couple-transplanted to Park City who first appeared in last year’s Follies show. The couple has some marital problems, but they eventually solve them, right on a couch at "Wrong at Home."
Among the performers, John Burdick stood out in his roles as Vernal and Mackenzie’s father, while Peg Tan and Larry Whipple delivered with their performances as lovers Mackenzie and Lehi. Clyde won the award for showing the most skin, giving the crowd a "treat" with his Speedo-clad accordion performances.
Ultimately, with a bigger cast, more video and more intricate stage-play, the 2006 Follies looked like a bigger production than last year’s show, came off more like "National Lampoon’s Park City," than an episode of "Saturday Night Live."
The show included not just skits, but songs, dances, choreography and special lyrics. A similarly prominent cast, meanwhile, included everyone from KPCW newsman Rick Brough, Park City Mayor Dana Williams, Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer, realtor A. Flint Decker and Park City Councilwoman Candy Erickson to National Ability Center CEO Meeche White.
The show ended with a series of outtakes from the filming of the video clips, giving the audience a view of the scenes they missed. Indeed, the Follies had so much material, it couldn’t all fit in the show.
So for 2006, the Park City Follies brought a full-fledged show to entertain and remind longtime Parkites just how funny they can be. In the end a Park City story, the Follies tells a lot about the town and its residents, while offering some laughter along the way.
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Daniel Thurston is Park City Library’s new Spanish services librarian.