‘Will Rogers Follies’ to showcase life of folk hero with song, dance

Will Rogers.jpg
Photo courtesy of School of the Arts

One mid-August afternoon, two men traveled via seaplane out of Fairbanks, Alaska, toward Point Barrow, the furthest north someone can go and still be in America. The sky wore a milky haze, Alaska’s typical bad-weather uniform.

The Point Barrow pit stop was supposed to be just that — a quick little adventure as part of their vacation flight to Russia. They didn’t mean to drop in the way they did.

A few miles outside the landing site, bad weather worsened. Shaken up and blinded by the storm, the two men, aviator Wiley Post and Will Rogers, had no choice but to attempt a landing to gain a bearing.

They could try to land in a nearby lagoon, but would they make it?

Chico State’s spring musical, “The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue,” explains not only what happens next, but offers an extensive look at the famed cowboy-comic’s legacy.

“Follies” is adapted from the Broadway classic of the same name in which Rogers’ unique, lovable character discovers fame and fortune after being born in what is now Oklahoma as the youngest of eight children in 1879.

The musical is directed by Chico alumnus Tim McDonald, who’s been traveling back and forth from Chico to New York while juggling his directing career and managing his theater company, iTheatrics.

The audience can expect to enjoy the energy and amount of comedy the show will offer, said Caitlin Ruszczyk, an ensemble member.

“I think that they should expect a fabulous show,” Ruszczyk said. “What’s awesome about it is the atmosphere, the people that I get to work with and just being able to perform with people who have such talent.”

Show Information

Date: April 29-May 3
Location: Laxson Auditorium
Price: $10 for students

Trevor Whitney can be reached at [email protected] or @nicegrandmas on Twitter.