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Follies create magical moments at Mission Theater

Today, my dear friends, I pray you will indulge me while I spin a seat-of-the-pants yarn about a recent event at one of my favorite haunts.

The place is our historic Mission Theater. The event was the June 2 Fallbrook Follies as presented by the Fallbrook Woman's Club. I was thrilled to participate in this folksy gig that sparked many a magical moment at a beloved local landmark.

I'll begin with the place. Roy Moosa and his amazing family own the theater. But I call it "our" theater because this treasure-beyond-measure belongs to all of us. The old girl marked her 75th birthday earlier this year.

The theater – which Roy has decorated with his astonishing collection of movie memorabilia – is living history. I got a small taste of that as I drifted around backstage at the event. It is there that lacquered posters of past productions – done by groups such as Fallbrook Players Present – are tacked to many of the walls.

The now-defunct group in the early 1990s performed such theatrical classics as "Our Town," "Gus and Dolls," "The Little Foxes," "Life with Father," "A Man for All Seasons" and many more.

Beyond that, the theater has hosted countless concerts, movies covering every conceivable topic, talks and talent shows. Even today, the screen and stage come alive with all the drama, triumph, tragedy, love and laughter that humanity offers.

And now the Fallbrook Follies are part of our theater's rich history.

I was instantly hooked about two months ago when I learned the fundraiser was being planned. It was being organized by BJ Maus and Joann Robinson, who labored tirelessly to recruit performers, work with the theater managers, stage a wobbly rehearsal, promote the event and finally pull off a rock-solid show that attracted more than 100 paying customers.

My pal, retired math teacher Jerry Maurer, nailed it as the emcee. I wore a borrowed choir robe to do satirical "prayers" penned by the great American theologians Janis Joplin and Mac Davis. I opened with "Mercedes Benz" and closed with one stanza of "Lord, It's Hard to be Humble."

There were ballet and tap dancers, singers and musicians and a folklorico ensemble and solo. Tom Lester performed two Johnny Cash songs, including my all-time favorite "Ring of Fire." Miss Stephanie, a Fallbrook school teacher, did a comedy routine about the courtship that led to her third marriage. Pinky Maynard performed a heavenly hula.

Woman's Club leaders were thrilled with the outcome, including the yet-to-be-tabulated proceeds that will be spent on the maintenance of their clubhouse, the historic Carriage House, which was built in 1876.

"We are so happy with the way it turned out," BJ told me later over the phone. "Everybody was awesome on stage."

I have long felt that an annual talent show – organized as a fundraiser for a worthy nonprofit group – would be a great addition to Fallbrook's robust entertainment calendar.

Fallbrook has some talented folks. And the Woman's Club – which traces its roots to 1907 – has served the community with its heart, soul and stamina.

But BJ said there's no word yet as to whether there will be an encore show or if the event will become an annual affair. She and Joann, who both appeared in the show, are exhausted after cramming a year's worth of work into 2½ months.

"Going forward, I don't even want to think about it for a while," BJ mused. "Time will tell if we have something like this next year."

You've got my vote, ladies. My friend, local pastor Greg Coppock, does a wonderful Elvis.


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