Rotary Club variety show returns Feb. 10

The Saranac Lake Rotary Dancers dress as skeletons for the closing number of the Winter Carnival Rotary Show in February 2020, the last in-person variety show the Rotary Club put on before coronavirus pandemic-related shutdowns. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake Rotary Club’s annual Winter Carnival show is returning this year, in person, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“It’s good to be back,” Rotary Club President Diane Roberts said Thursday. “COVID kept us from doing a live show for two years.”

The club is bringing their staple variety show back in a big way on Friday, Feb. 10, adding more acts to its lineup, including a new LED light show from the Smoke Show Fire Company Dancers.

“That looks like it’s going to be absolutely fantastic,” Roberts said.

Those who attend the show at the Harrietstown Town Hall can expect to hear a pre-show performance by On 3, an acoustic duo that includes Josh Pratt, Jim Boucher and Eric Pastemack.

The Saranac Lake High School Vocal Ensembles will perform, led by director Drew Benware. Students expected to perform include Gabby Allen, Payton Barry, Ally Bourgeois, Sophie Colarusso, Swae Conner, Addy Dann, Annelise Dramm, Jen Giroux, Kayden Glascock, Jacquelyn Kielau, Heaven LaFever, KK Mader, Marissa Martin, Melody Martin, Lindsey McCreadie, Kathleen Montroy, Amanda Pelkey, Emma Pickard, Nadia Pollock, Katie Ransom, Molly Tooker, Abigail Walkow, Malea White, Sam Ash, Nash Carlisto, Chris Cruz-Lillegard, ColdenDamour, Paul Fogarty, Galen Halasz, Max Hall, Evan Hochwald, Sam Keating, Sam Madden, Vance Openshaw, Anthony Samperi, Jace Synder, Sage Kite-Widden and Clyde Waters.

Dancers from Saranac Lake’s Dance Sanctuary will showcase their hip-hop routine. Julie Robards, described by Roberts as being “a phenomenal singer with a great sense of humor,” will be returning to the Rotary Show to perform songs with a splash of humor.

A troupe from the Pendragon Theatre will also preview their current production, “Honky Tonk Angels,” about a group of unlikely friends who meet each other in periods of transition in their lives. The show will run through Feb. 12 at Pendragon during Winter Carnival. Tickets for the full show can be purchased at https://bit.ly/3XTDpXS.

Joey Izzo — “a Saranac Lake favorite,” Roberts said — is expected to play piano, followed by the Smoke Show Fire Company Dancers’ LED lights show.

The show won’t end there.

As always, the show will be capped off with a performance by the Rotary Club Dancers, who are dedicating their act in memory of Rotarian Bill Plumb, who died at the age of 72 this past September.

“Bill was an active and very engaged Rotarian for 23 years, considering his fellow members (past and present) as part of his family,” Roberts said. “He was involved in all aspects of the club’s community service from highway clean up to shut-ins cheer up, club administration, fundraising and an enthusiastic supporter of fun.”

Plumb was a past president of the Rotary — it was during his tenure that the original SaranacLakeOpoly game was created.

“We recently found in storage the last 25 games and will be selling them at the Rotary Show,” Roberts said. “These are historical vintage collector items, so take advantage of your last opportunity to own a piece of Saranac Lake history.”

Plumb was intimately involved with the Rotary Club Dancers for many years. In recent years, he was “the main driver for ideas for the dancers’ interpretation of the theme, including set design, costumes and choreography,” Roberts said. He took the club’s show very seriously, and, according to his obituary, “it wasn’t rare for him to ask his family for any input on the upcoming show, once the theme was picked, even if it was only September and still six months away.”

“The hesitation about continuing without their inspired leader is now well behind the dancers, as the planning and rehearsing has only helped them relive wonderful memories of their very good friend, Bill Plumb,” Roberts said.

What will the Rotary Club Dancers’ act be this year? People will need to show up to find out. The Winter Carnival theme this year is “Roman Around Carnival.”

“It’s still absolutely ultra top-secret,” Roberts said. “Nothing gets out of there. I’m the president, and I have absolutely no idea.”

The Rotary Show is an annual community tradition for the village that is typically held on the second Friday of Winter Carnival. According to Roberts, the club’s first Rotary show was in 1951.

“Rotary has been doing this for 72 years. All the money that is raised, all proceeds, go right back into the community through our community grant program,” she said. “Generally, we’re usually able to fund our community grant program anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 per year.”

In a typical year, the Harrietstown Town Hall sells out. With more than 600 seats, it is filled to capacity as community members and visitors pour in to see the performances.

For the Rotary Club, keeping the show fresh year after year is easy.

“We’re just a wild and crazy group with a lot of energy and a great sense of humor,” Roberts said. “We bring out the best in each other.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $20 at several businesses and organizations, including at Ampersound, NBT Bank and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are also sold online for $25 at www.saranaclakerotary.org/rotary-show.

A full schedule of Winter Carnival events is available online at www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com/schedule.


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