Anderson Senior Follies: A brief history

The seed for Anderson Senior Follies was planted in 1989 when Dr. Mark Hopkins, then president of Anderson College, passed his Follies ideas along to Dr. David Larson, then director of Anderson College's Fine Arts Center. Dr. Hopkins said something like, "Make it happen, David." Or maybe he said, "Get 'er done, dude."

Dr. Larson, joined by Annette Cantrell Martin and Marge Miller, pulled together a cast of more than 50 seniors from all walks of life who produced the first Senior Follies show, writing the script as they went along. The show, "Meet Me At The Klondike Cafe," ran two nights with 600 in the audience each night in the spring of 1990. Bob Klatt, an enthusiastic Follies advocate, stepped forward to help finance that first Senior Follies show. His generous contribution was $5,000. It didn't end there. He also footed the bill for the cast party.

The lady who makes the wheels turn, the lady who puts the razzle in the dazzle and the lady who puts the spark in the spark plugs is producer, composer, director and choreographer Annette Cantrell Martin.

She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a friend and mentor who always finds a way to develop the very best in each cast member. She was there when it started and is the person most responsible for the growth and continued success of Anderson Senior Follies. Her talent and inexhaustible energy is the dominant force behind the cast of 70 to 100 young-at-heart seniors who each year bring down the house with blockbuster singing, dancing, comedy and specialty acts.

Anderson Senior Follies has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America and at Piccolo Spoleto, Disney World and Epcot Center. The cast has been featured entertainment on two Caribbean cruises.

Anderson Senior Follies has been awarded the Shining Light Award by the U.S. Congress for humanitarian service. In 1999, Anderson Senior Follies attended the Senior Theater USA conference at Orlando, Fla., where they took top honors of Best Costumes, Best Choreography, Best Stage Presence and Best of Show.

In October of 2006, the Anderson Senior Follies traveled to St. Louis and once again attended a Senior Theater USA conference. They were selected to do the show they wrote and choreographed, "Honey, I'm Home" as the finale to the conference, presenting the best of the best of senior organizations.

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