Variety Show more than a “standard” affair

SBINSIDER| March 28th, 2023

SaddleBrooke was a cornucopia of theater-style entertainment this past week with performances by the Community Circle Players and the Variety Show players.

The Variety show has been a biannual event put on by SaddleBrooke residents featuring the best talent the community has to offer. Due to COVID and some scheduling problems, the performance was finally delayed 5 years and resurrected by Gail Nellie and Monica Gray for 2023 and two performances were given, March 21,st and March 22nd.  The 21st show featured a 4pm which seemed preferable to the seniors in SaddleBrooke as about 270 theater lovers bought Desert View seats-about 50 more than the Wednesday 7:30 PM show.

As advertised, the Variety Show featured the standards of American popular music from the near past, kicking off with Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” a music and dance number. What followed were a series of songs chosen by director Gail Nelli, including her performance of a duet with Monica Gray “Together Wherever We Go” which lead to the closing with final bows by the cast members. Notably Ted Robu, Linda Griffin and Sam Page all performed for the umpteenth time and the dancers in the County Cloggers and the Hula team rounded out the show. The SaddleBrooke Barber shoppers did a couple of numbers to add to the night’s nostalgia.

Emcees Douglas Wolf and Fran Berman moved the numbers along gracefully and passed on much trivia in introducing each of the songs. Berman wore a particularly flamboyant outfit, complete with a top hat. (see photo)

Co-emcee Fran Berman in the red outfit

Audience members were very appreciative that Variety Show was back. One remarked that he had hoped one of the songs would be devoted to a sing-along with the audience. Another was surprised at the ticket price-$28-when the regular professional shows were nearly the same price. In response, Director Nelli wrote: Our ticket prices were raised because HOA#2 increased their take on the show from 22% in 2018 to 30% and would only give us two nights instead of three.  We have a budget we have to keep in line, too! Tell the one audience member that sing-a-longs are often (but not always) done with the SB Singers concerts, not our shows, so hopefully that person will want to buy a ticket to their concert on April 12th for a mere $25. 

Kudos to Gail and Monica for their efforts putting together the show and to the performers who put it out on stage for our enjoyment. Thanks too, to Darbie Baker, the “queen” of Desert View Performing Arts theater.

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