Many headed into their golden years are content to just remember the good ol' days of being footloose and fancy free, but for a batch of dedicated performers the fun is just beginning. Stars Theatre Restaurant returns this weekend with its popular annual presentation of "Wrinkles," a variety show featuring actors, singers and dancers 55 and older.
The show is being director by Laurie Howlett, who leads a cast of 25 performers, ranging in age from 57 to 86, many of whom are "Wrinkles" alumni.
"The content and theme of 'Wrinkles' changes each year and the show is very collaborative," Howlett wrote in an email. "This year’s show is chock full of variety. With a 'Laugh In' theme there is no shortage of comedy."
Fans of the classic TV show, which ran from 1968 to 1973, will appreciate the planned gags including the famous Joke Wall; chicken jokes; old age jokes; a poet; Gladys and Tyrone, a sketch featuring a man making advances on a woman who is not having it; New Talent Time, featuring variety acts; and Farkel Family skits.
Musical numbers are also plucked from the era including favorites like "Galveston," "If I Had A Hammer," "I Got You Babe," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Amos Moses," "Age of Aquarius" and more.
"The cast sounds beautiful and we have had a welcome new addition of some Bakersfield Chorale members to the cast this year."
Howlett said choreographer Gail Schweikert and her dancers outdid themselves with the routines, which include three large group numbers as well as a tap dance, line dance, go-go dance and funny ballet featuring Tiny Tim and the song "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."
"Quite frankly, I don’t know how they have that much energy," Howlett said.
Also helping Howlett bring the show to life is husband Mark Price, an established comedian who organized and arranged much of the comedy in the show, vocal director Jason Sligar and assistant Bev Ragsdale.
Howlett said, "In addition, we have a variety of unusual talents that I wanted to feature in the show, and so this year you will see dueling accordions, a harmonica solo, and New Talent Time will feature a frenzy of funny and quick bits by guitar, trombone, ukulele and bongo players, opera singers, an award-winning twist dancer and a Cowboy Poet."
There will also be a patriotic musical tribute to military veterans, which this year focuses on Vietnam veterans, marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
For those enjoying dinner with the show, entree choices are lemon chicken, beef stroganoff, sun-dried tomato and smoked Swiss ravioli or trio salad (tuna, chicken salad and egg salad on greens).
With such a full lineup of talent, Howlett is sure audiences will be glad they came.
"It sounds like a lot I know, but the show is fast-paced and quick, and super fun. Will you have a good time? 'You bet your sweet bippy!'"