The Palm Springs Follies – The Plaza Theatre

This holiday, it’s over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go!

Well, if grandma is a comedy legend and she’s in Palm Springs, chances are you’ll find her at the historic Plaza Theatre. That’s in the heart of downtown Palm Springs where Kaye Ballard is performing now through December 31 in the world famous Follies.

A consummate entertainer who has been one of the most popular guest-stars, Ballard has opened the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies’ 17th year. And from now through the last chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve, she’ll be part of the “Jolly Follies Christmas” that features frolicking Santas, dancing penguins and candy-cane girls. Another fun elements of ultra-entertaining holiday show is a gleeful Chanukah bear.

In addition to the lavish holiday production numbers, the show is a salute to the great songs of Tin Pan Alley. Audiences will enjoy a celebration of music, dance and song, with traditional carols, along with an audience sing-along and a shimmering onstage snowfall.

The Yuletide treat is all part of the vaudeville-style extravaganza that was created by the Follies impresario Riff Markowitz. He says, “The Follies is living proof that classic musical-comedy talent still thrills audiences. So who better to be the first guest star of our 17th season than legendary comedienne Kaye Ballard?”

A musical-comedy treasure with showbiz credits that span 70 years in vaudeville, on Broadway and in feature films, Ballard was also the star of the classic sitcom The Mothers-in-Law and made many hilarious appearances on The Carol Burnett Show, The Tonight Show, and great variety shows of the past.

Appearing with Ballard in the Follies are Babe Pier called the “father of impressions,” plus the canine cut-ups of Joanne Wilson’s Wonder Dogs, and the cutting-edge satire of Markowitz himself as “The Follies Man.”

As always, the Follies features its legendary line of long-legged lovelies and Follies gentlemen, who range in age from 56 to 84 years young!

Kaye Ballard

Until the end of the season in May, the Follies presents its talented ensemble of senior performers singing and dancing. The high-kicking line of senior chorus-girls strut their stuff and show off their shapely figures in Vegas-style costumes, to the delight of every audience.

Ballard calls her appearance with the Follies a “homecoming,” since her adopted hometown is in nearby Rancho Mirage, where there’s a street named in her honor. And her Follies gig is a return to her vaudeville roots as a performer.

Ballard made her stage debut at 12 in her native Cleveland playing vaudeville theaters and burlesque houses during the last days of those venues. In 1943, she was discovered by bandleader Spike Jones and toured with his band, singing and playing the flute and tuba.

In recent years, Ballard returned to the stage for acclaimed revivals of Funny Girl and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, and the 20th anniversary tour of Nunsense. She continues to make nightclub appearances and has written a very funny autobiography, “How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years.”

The Follies prove that talent has no expiration date, but Kaye Ballard does. She’ll wrap up her engagement Dec. 31, to make ways for more great entertainers– The Four Aces, Melba Moore and Anna Maria Alberghetti coming in the New Year.

No trip to Palm Springs is complete without a trip to the Follies. It really is that fabulous!

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.