Wrapped in a fuzzy robe, Lillian Jayne has never had so much fun. She’s getting ready for the “Shades of Gray” — not a role in the best-selling novel but her role in the Senior Follies.
The Senior Follies is a fundraiser for Muskogee Little Theatre’s building fund. You can experience “Shades of Gray” at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Muskogee Little Theatre, D and Cincinnati streets. Tickets are $12 and available at the door.
This is the third annual show that features senior citizens in song, dance and skits and it’s all for a good cause, said the show’s organizers Bob and Isabel Cockle of Cockle’s Dance Studio. Isabel Cockle got the title from the “naughty” book that’s out.
“We’re over 50 — not dead yet,” she said and laughed. “There’s a lot of talent here. The show is composed of people who love the theater. It’s also fun to be together.”
During a recent rehearsal, Jayne said her “old folks skit” with Ben Robinson is her favorite. Jayne was raised in movie theaters her parents owned. As a teacher, she helped put on plays but never got to “act” in them. She’s in three dances and three comedy skits.
“Isabel and Bob know how to put on a show,” said Jayne, a retired teacher who works as a Realtor.
Robinson, who many know for his role in politics as a former state senator, likes his skit with Jayne. He called it a Carol Burnett-type script. He also is enjoying having his wife, Marcia Robinson, on stage with him in the duet of “I’ve Got You, Babe” made famous by Sonny and Cher. It’s her first time for the follies.
Dressed in his biker black leather and denim, Robinson fell in line with the other guys at rehearsal singing “YMCA,” made famous by the Village People. Steve Thomson is the cowboy. Bob Honea is the construction worker and Wayne Felts the police officer.
“I love it,” Robinson said. “I love to make people laugh.”
He’s been in plays since elementary school and got involved with MLT 35 years ago.
“It’s amazing the talent we have in Muskogee,” he said. “Arts add to the community.”
Felts said he enjoys being on stage and has performed with MLT since the first show.
“Being on stage gives a guy a chance to act silly,” Felts said.
Kalua Corbin just got back from visiting her family on the East Coast but quickly volunteered to sing a song for the show — “When You’re Good to Mama” from the musical “Chicago!” She said she loves performing and being on stage.
Not all the performers are senior citizens. Some of the dancers are from a Cockle dance class.
“I love to dance but I’m not a stage person,” said Julie Battenfield, who joined the jazz and tap class for exercise last year. “I never tapped in my life until I joined this class.”
One of the senior dancers, Elaine Brownell, said she takes a dance class with the Cockles because “dancing is more fun than going to the gym.” Brownell and her “Red Hot Mamas” wear black lace and fringe.
Coni Wetz, MLT executive director, appreciates the dancers and actors volunteering to do the show to benefit the MLT building fund. The Senior Follies has raised between $2,000 and $3,000 each year. A new building is still in the planning stages, Wetz said.
Isabel Cockle said she and her husband were there when MLT started in 1975 and know how much MLT needs a few facility. She hopes the community will attend to see their talented neighbors like Jayne who’s eager to share “Shades of Gray.”
If you go
WHAT: Senior Follies “Shades of Gray,” presented by Cockle Dance Studio.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Muskogee Little Theatre, D and Cincinnati streets.
TICKETS: $12 at MLT box office or SoundWorld, or at the door.
PROCEEDS: Benefits Muskogee Little Theatre building fund.