Members of the community will share the limelight this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 6-7, in the Junior Service League’s "Totally Awesome '80s Follies" at the Rome City Auditorium.
Several familiar faces from Darlington will take the stage with fellow "Follies" cast members to sing, dance and act in the biannual event that helps raise money for the JSL Community Partnership Program, which funds a variety of local charities supported by the service organization.
The following Darlington faculty and staff will appear in the show: Kevin Allen, transportation manager; Wendell Barnes, Summerbell House duty staff; Luke Chaffin, Communication Office content manager; Carrie Eady, human resources manager; Ashley Evans, ELA-8 world languages teacher; Brant Evans, dean of student life and history teacher; and Rebekah Kinney, technology integration specialist. Several members of the Darlington Community have been helping behind the scenes to put on the musical variety show, including first-grade teacher Rachel Harrison.
“I’m so thankful for the chance to serve Rome alongside such passionate and dedicated women,” said Ashley Evans, who joined the Junior Service League in 2009 following an invitation from fellow Darlington colleagues.
Second-grader Chandler Bagby, fifth-grader Will Bagby and first-grader Emma Frances Cromartie will also take the stage, joining other junior performers for special appearances throughout the show.
“It’s a ton of fun to see people I work with every day get on stage to sing, dance and just act crazy," said Evans, who also serves as this year's Junior Service League president and chairperson of the "Follies" invitation and ticket committees. "We are thankful to have so many talented members of the Darlington family participating in the show."
Every two years the Junior Service League plans a "Follies" production, which comes comes together in three short weeks from the first cast social to the final curtain this Saturday night.
Attendees of this year's performances will enjoy the quintessential sights and sounds from the 1980s, including big hair, bright neon colors, iconic TV characters from the era, and live music made famous by artists like Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, Toto, Styx and more.
For the third consecutive "Follies" production, Darlington provided several spaces at Thatcher Hall for use by the cast during the first two weeks of rehearsal.
“The willingness of Darlington to be the vessel for this interaction allows a really positive community interaction to take place,” said executive producer Chris Fettig of the Pennsylvania-based Christopher Alan Productions. "The people in Rome are always so good to us—helpful, kind and accommodating."
Fettig has directed "Follies" performances in Rome for the last 10 years, and has produced a total of six shows to help support the Junior Service League’s philanthropy and programming. The "As Seen on TV" production in 2013 raised over $40,000 for local charities.
“The level of talent in Rome is astounding. I can't believe overall how smoothly it has gone this time,” said Fettig. "I have had more people say to me this year that they were willing to do whatever necessary to make the show what it needs to be.”
Since its beginning over 80 years ago, the Junior Service League of Rome has worked closely with the Chieftains Museum, Hospitality House, Open Door Home, Boys & Girls Club, Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia, Free Clinic of Rome, Rome Area Council for the Arts, and countless other non-profit organizations.
The 37th installment of the Junior Service League's "Follies" take center stage on Friday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. on both nights. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children. Patrons tickets are available for $50 per person and include a special pre-event reception and reserved seating at the show. For a list of ticket outlets and to purchase tickets online, click here.