The word calls to mind the Broadway shows of the 1940s and ’50s with their elaborate costuming and big production values.
The East Fairmont High School Busy Bee Band & Honeybees haven’t been performing their annual show quite that long, but today marks the beginning of the latest performance of “Follies,” the longest running high school performance in West Virginia.
The show celebrates its 40th year this year, said director T.J. Bean. The first Follies show was in 1970, “but we missed three years,” he said, one the year the band moved to the current school from what is now East Fairmont Junior High School and two others for weather-related reasons.
Bean said the show is a little difficult to describe for people who’ve never seen it.
“You can’t describe it as a high school band concert because there’s so much more than that,” he said.
“It’s just an extremely large production when you stop and think about how these are high school students,” he said.
For example, each year the show spotlights a short Broadway production, this year featuring music and scenes from “Annie.”
“We usually try to run through at least one of those,” he said.
There’s a bigger stage built specifically for the event, bigger lights, bigger sounds — it’s all bigger.
“We try to go the extra mile and bump everything up a notch or 10 and make it that much more professional,” Bean said.
It’s a lot of work, especially when you consider the musicians and danceline are still taking classes every day. To put together these elaborate, Broadway-style productions takes time and practice, Bean said.
“Imagine playing the same station or the same song on your car radio every day,” he said.
During the football season, when the band is playing more or less the same set at each performance, Bean will add one new song for Follies into the practice routine to give the musicians a little variety.
“Before we go away for Christmas break, I may hand out one more,” he said.
But when students return in January, the pressure is on, and it’s “a non-stop process” from the end of January until the day before the show gets under way. Between the Bees rehearsing and the boosters building the stage, wiring new lights and painting sets, there’s hardly a spare minute.
For the past two weeks, they’ve been rehearsing on stage, and “everything’s pretty much buttoned down,” Bean said. “The students are ready to see a crowd out there.”
With 40 years under their belts, the band and dancers have a lot of history — and material — to draw from.
“We have clips in there from James Bond,” Bean said, “a song featuring a lot of Disney numbers,” music from Annie and other Broadway musicals, and a lot more.
Though some of the show may be familiar to longtime fans, he said there will be a few surprises even for folks who haven’t missed a year.
Not to give anything away, Bean said, but Follies will be commemorating its 40th anniversary with a special introduction to the show and “a kick at the end,” two big surprises.
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic show,” Bean said.
Follies will run until Sunday, with 7:30 p.m. shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday. Tickets will be available through Saturday afternoon, Bean said.
Email Jonathan Williams at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @JWilliamsTWV.
Christmas in Our Town holiday tradition
On Saturday, Barrackville residents will celebrate the 11th annual Christmas in Our Town event.
DeEtta Hayes, chairman of the Christmas in Our Town committee, said that several people within the community have worked hard to organize the event, which has become a tradition for many.
Oldies Dance, ‘Taste’ to benefit United Way
Hit the dance floor for an evening of music and giving at the United Way of Marion County fifth annual Oldies Dance and Taste of Marion County on Friday, Dec. 6, at Fairmont Elks Lodge No. 294.
Holiday Historic Homes Tour on Nov. 30 features nine sites
Structures that tell the story of Fairmont’s rich history will be on display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 during the annual Holiday Historic Homes Tour.
This is the 20th year for the tour, which was named the 2012 Event of the Year by the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County.
‘Rocket Boys the Musical’ set at FSU
The Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts is bringing the story of West Virginia native Homer Hickam to life through its musical performance of “Rocket Boys.”
Director Troy Snyder said this is the first time “Rocket Boys the Musical” will be performed by a college or university.
‘Freedom Tower’ premiere tonight
The curtains will open at 8 p.m. today at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown for the world premiere of Sam Graber’s “Freedom Tower,” a play that focuses on the effects that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks continue to have on our country more than 12 years later.
Debut concert Sunday at folklife center
The Monongahela Chamber Winds ensemble will have its debut concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College.
Harvest festival, antique fair this weekend at Pricketts Fort
It’s the time of year for the Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation to host the annual harvest festival and antique fair.
‘Simpsons’ creator finds funny in cancer fight
Since word got out about Sam Simon’s cancer, this co-creator of “The Simpsons” and fervent philanthropist has heard from many people online asking to help rid him of his sizable wealth.
DreamMore Resort coming to Dollywood
To see the future of Dollywood, you need to borrow the vision of its chief imaginer, Dolly Parton.
Bands big part of Monongahfest
For the second year in a row, the band Jenna Won’t Sing will be performing on the main stage at the Monongahfest Saturday.
The band is made up of Jim Pulice, Eric Pulice, Ron Yanero and Greg Patrick.
- More Ticket Headlines
- Christmas in Our Town holiday tradition