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Apr 20, 2015

November 5, 6 and 7, 2015 marks the return of The Follies to Memorial Hall for the first time since 2000.


The Hutchinson Follies began in 1937 when the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Auxiliary contracted with a group from New York—Jerome Cargill to produce the first Follies. Cargill provided musicians, costumes and scripts and cast local people as talent.


The Auxiliary continued to offer performances through a partnership with Cargill until 1971, when Gerry Hollingsworth of Hutchinson volunteered to write and direct a Follies completely produced by local volunteers. It marked a union of the Ladies Auxiliaries of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Grace Hospital in an effort to raise funds for the new Hutchinson Hospital, which was the beneficiary of the funds raised by the Follies.


The late Patty Carey volunteered with the Follies from 1950 on, and she was quoted as saying about the benefit of Hollingsworth’s involvement with the Follies, “BG and AG—before Gerry and after Gerry.”


In 2014, when Hollingsworth heard of the efforts to build a Reno County Veteran’s Memorial, she suggested to Lisa Barker of the Veteran’s Memorial Committee that perhaps it was time for one more Follies. Barker accepted her offer and agreed to be chairman of the 2015 Follies.


With Hollingsworth’s support and encouragement, the Hutchinson Follies of 2015 will feature many of the numbers she originally wrote for the 1991 Follies, which was a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and a musical revue of the First and Second World Wars.


To honor veterans who have served in conflicts since that time, Hollingsworth recruited Mimi Meredith of Hutchinson as writer. Meredith will serve as director of the 2015 Follies as well.


“I am no replacement for Gerry Hollingsworth,” Meredith said. “I can’t imagine a living soul who could be. I do enjoy bringing people together around a great cause and I can’t think of anything better for our county than to remember the Reno County men and women who selflessly served the cause of freedom. I hope everyone in the community feels the urge to participate—to audition in August for a role on stage, to take on a role as a volunteer and most importantly, to come out for the show in November.”


Visit www.hutchinsonfollies.com for more information, or to sign up to audition or volunteer.