History of Pasadena Follies

From 2002 through 2007 the PASADENA FOLLIES raised money for the Pasadena Senior Center while allowing local luminaries a chance to perform original sketches and songs for the pleasure of the audience.

Prime movers for the show were local veteran filmmaker Jerram Swartz, along with Ann Erdman, Mayor Bogaard’s longtime Public Information Officer (who knew everybody), actor/lawyer/teacher Barry Gordon (who among numerous film and stage credits provided the voice of Donatello for ten years on TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES animated show) and Mr. Doo Dah/Chalk Festival himself, Tom Coston.

Mayor Bogaard was a goodnatured participant for each edition.  Others included KPCC on-air personality Larry Mantle, Star News Publisher Larry Wilson, Pasadena Weekly Editor Kevin Uhrich, Pasadena Heritage Founder Sue Mossman, Cal Tech President David Baltimore, Pasadena Beautiful Head Nina Chomsky, PUSD Superintendant Percy Clark, Fire Chief Dennis Downs, Council Member Steve Madison – you get the idea.  Another Council Member named Victor Gordo killed one year as Ricky Ricardo in an I LOVE LUCY sketch.

Much fun was had by all!

How did the Pasadena Follies come to be hosted by the Shakespeare Club?

During the restrictions of the 2020-21 Covid-19 pandemic, the Shakespeare Club created a new activity group called the Walkie Talkies.  Starting out each week from our Villa clubhouse on Grand Avenue, walking at “no particular pace to no particular place” we made many new friends.  One morning neighbor Jerram Swartz asked if he could join us.  Over a series of walks and talks, Pasadena Follies was offered to the Shakespeare Club.  Considering the Club’s philanthropic-cultural-social missions and its long history of performance fundraisers, it was a perfect fit.

2021 Pasadena Follies Roaring Back

Recognizing Follies’ hiatus for several years and that no one got to have Roaring 2020’s parties due to pandemic restrictions, “Roaring Back” is an apt theme.  Did you know that one of the reasons the 1920’s “roared” was due to the 1919 pandemic?  People were ready to bust out – and they sure did!  We’re ready to as well!  The Shakespeare Club looks at this initial year as Friendship more than Fundship and reduced the ticket price by two-thirds.  2021 contemporary topics include cicadas (which also had a come back in 2021), climate change, Covid, billionaires, and celebrity residents of Pasadena.  We hope that the fine citizens of Pasadena will find their way back to enjoying Follies and laughing together again.