A Brief History of Angels Follies

In 1963 the Parent / Teacher Association (PTA) of Guardian Angels wanted a new fundraiser to help finance their needs. After many ideas were proposed, it was decided that a musical variety show would be held in the spring of 1964. Not having a venue of its own, Angels Follies opened on April 17, 1964 , in the original McNicholas gymnasium / auditorium to a sold out audience. Due to its success, this one-time fundraiser returned in 1965 and 1966 and ...

Also in 1963 the parish laid the cornerstone for what is now the current church. The old church was converted to a much needed school gymnasium and what was previously the church altar became a stage. In 1968, Follies was performed on its own campus in the Father Haley Auditorium, appropriately named for the pastor whose vision saw the needs of an expanding parish congregation.

The format of Follies early shows was of a loosely-themed concept having originally scripted dialogue with both popular and original songs. The show's format has been constantly evolving since its inception to keep it fresh and exciting. There is now less dialogue, more singing, precision dancing, themed costumes, intricate staging, and enhanced lighting and sound.

Many directors have guided the productions throughout the years. A significant change began to take place when Elston Hurst, a local Mt. Washington resident and parishioner, took the help as director. Having theatrical ties beyond the parish, Elston reached out and brought in young talent from Community Theater groups. The talent pool soon spread from the eastern neighborhoods to the entire Greater Cincinnati area. This youth movement was the genesis of the 2nd generation of Follies cast and crew.

Another expansion of the parish building occurred in 2005 when the Sister Dolores Berginer Parish Center was constructed. The stage area was increased by over 50%, allowing for expanded and creative staging and blocking of musical numbers. A welcome change accompanied this new facility in that the traditional rows of seating for the audience were changed to the more casual cabaret style table and chair seating. We were also performing in a climate controlled environment - no more noisy fans trying in vain to keep the audience and performers cool if summer temperatures arrived early!

This time also saw a second wave of youth to bolster and inject a new enthusiasm in the cast and crew which has shown in our recent performances. Some of the cast are second and third generation family members of GA parishioners and Follies alumni.

So we have now arrived at a point in time that most likely never envisioned by the Follies' founders. Seasoned veterans and recently joined members combine to provide a memorable evening of song and dance. When you mingle with cast and crew after the performance, please reach out and thank those veteran members how have carried the Follies tradition through the years, and encourage the newer members to carry the torch forward to the next 50 years.