By Shanon Weaver of Celebration Magazine
Spectacular Follies, Spectacular Ladies
It’s that time again, friends. The Spectacular Follies descend unto the Eismann Center this September! Let’s meet a couple of its shining stars, shall we?
Peggy Chandler is from Raymondville, in the Rio Grande Valley, and moved to Dallas after attending Stephen F. Austin University. Jeri Edwards is from Oklahoma City, but was born in San Antonio and got back to Texas as soon as she could. According to Edwards, the pair share an unbreakable bond of sisterhood. We chatted with the two to learn more!
CELEBRATION MAGAZINE: What are your performance backgrounds?
JERI EDWARDS: At the age of four I started taking dance lessons. In 2000 I joined The Dallas Tap Dazzlers and became a member of an elite group of women that I was honored to perform with throughout Texas and the United States for eighteen years. We had the privilege of being in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as performing for the Senior America pageant in Atlantic City.
PEGGY CHANDLER: While in Raymondville my mom had a studio called The Patty Dickerson School of Dance. We performed all over the Rio Grande Valley and were regulars on The Moulton “Ty\ Cobb Show. Fast forward to 2002 when I joined the Class Act Tap Company, a service tap organization. I also have had the privilege of performing several shows with a few fellow Follies cast members at Chandler’s Landing and GG Theatre.
CM: How did you get involved with the Spectacular Follies, and how long have you been participating?
PC: In 2009 another Class Act Tap member asked me to learn a duet and audition with her. We were both chosen to be in the ensemble cast that year by Mark Carroll, co-founder of the Spectacular Follies and John de la Santos, choreographer, and as they say— the rest is history. I have been in the dance ensemble every year since then. I am also a member of the Groovy Ladies, which has performed as a specialty act since 2014. This is so fun because our performances have been country, disco, 50’s and Broadway. Three of these years—2015, 2017, and 2018—Jeri and I have been selected as a specialty act. This has been a real treat for us because it has allowed us to be creative and showcase our singing and dancing together!
JE: As a member of The Dallas Tap Dazzlers, we were asked to perform in the first Follies production in 2008. For the second show in 2009 I auditioned for the dance ensemble and I’ve been a part of this fabulous organization now for eleven years.
CM: What’s your favorite part about the Follies?: Your favorite memory?
PC: This goes without saying….it is the friendships. The friends I have made over the past ten years are a true blessing. Not only are we friends, we have become one big family! We take care of each other, work together, learn to compromise and really just want the show to be the best for our audience. In addition to the friendships I have made, I have to say I love seeing how the show comes together from start to finish each year! It is truly spectacular.
JE: Well, there’s always the costumes, the scenery, the make-up, the lights! But, first and foremost, the amazing people I have had the opportunity to perform with and the family bond you build with them is at the true heart of why I’m here and keep coming back. No egos, No divas. Just the love of sharing the stage together with one goal, to bring joy and great entertainment to our audiences. But, I have to add. I will always be partial to that special moment when the curtain goes up and it’s SHOW TIME! Not only one of my favorite memories, but a dream come true, when I was selected to be a part of the ensemble performing One from the Broadway show A Chorus Line. To top that off the choreographer was our wonderful director who was in the original production on Broadway, Michael Serechhia! I’ll never forget the first time I did this. It was definitely “one singular sensation”!
CM: What do the Follies mean to you?
JE: For me the “FOLLIES” represents “Living life to the Fullest”. We have grown into a powerhouse of talent and continuous enthusiasm whose goal is giving our best to make others smile and take an entertaining journey with us for two hours. It means commitment and dedication to each other. Always striving to be better and continue to find the best in yourself as well as your other cast members.
PC: The Follies means so much to me on many levels. First of all, it has given me the opportunity to perform at this stage of my life. This was something that I never expected, but now can’t imagine my life without the Follies in it. Most of all, the Follies means working with a Dream Team! This team pulls out the best in each of us: the award-winning Michael Serrecchia, Director & Choreographer (and Megan Bates his assistant), the incredibly talented Dee Anne Meece, Artistic Director and Andy Michlin, Musical Director.
CM: What advice do you have for our readers about remaining an active and fabulous senior?
PC: Don’t wait! Just start doing something in your senior years now and use all the abilities you have to offer….no matter what your age. And remember, whatever you do, you are inspiring all generations.
JE: Stay passionate about something! Passion creates energy and energy is life! Find that special thing you enjoy and go for it. It’s never too late. Keep moving! Motion is Life!
Celebration Magazine thanks Peggy and Jeri for their time, and encourages you to catch The Spectacular Follies this September!