The Follies—Gorgeous girls, stunning choreography

Don Zellmer’s newest production at the Clock Tower offers glitz, exceptional dancers, the humor of old-time vaudeville, and singers that belt the best of Broadway. Centering the show are three young women, Casiena Raether, Kimberly Lynn Bigler, and Cathy Bozzi, who showcase Zellmer’s costumes exquisitely. Brilliant sequined headdresses tower, and boas sweep the floor. The talented women have choreographed the entire show, and their numbers reflect their training and complete professionalism.

Scott Chachula and Zellmer, although working together only a short time, have developed a repartee based on their own personalities that comes across as if they had spent years together. The original lyrics of “You’re Nothing Without Me” reflect their creativity and innate sense of humor. Chachula’s performances include everything from operatic solos to Cinderella’s Prince in Sondheim’s Into the Woods. His duet in Follies with Nancy Chachula is the touching highlight from Miss Saigon. The blend of emotion and perfect tonal quality gave me shivers of delight.

Nancy’s introduction to the show is a clever bit, as Zellmer says, based on life imitating life. Her confrontation with Scott demanding to be part of the show gives a sense of realism. RAMI Award winner, Luciana, sings Fats Waller’s “Keeping Out of Mischief” with the assurance of a star. Her numbers have a gospel feel, and her interaction with Scott as he tries to sing James Brown’s “Feeling Good” in an operatic mode is hilarious.

Many of the numbers are, as friend Carl Cole says, “Show Stoppers,” Zellmer joins the dancers in a superb tap routine and a Hello, Dolly! tribute to composer Jerry Herman showcases the entire company. Herman is Zellmer’s favorite song writer and his shows are definitely part of the future for Jubilee Theatre.

Expanding programs consist of a late-night show, Bottoms Up, a mix of bawdy comedy and burlesque playing on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m., and now running, an interactive Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m. Scott and Nancy Chachula teach the Jubilee Theatre Academy of Performing Arts for Children, giving young people an opportunity in the arts. For further information concerning all of the programs, call (815) 229-4033.

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