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By Phyllis Green - Theater Critic

March 21, 2024

It's like riding a bike! Once a dancer, always a dancer. And what an inspiration to watch 40 plus gorgeous, talented youngsters, ages 55 to 95, strut their stuff in "The New Florida Follies." Playing to a packed house at The Parker in Ft. Lauderdale, "The Broadway Beat" opened with a warm welcome from the Follies Director/Choreographer, Cheryl Steinthal, a striking lady, outlining the outstanding charities they support devoted to the well-being of children. And now, as she says, on with the show 'cause there's no biz like show biz!

With an incredible bevy of beautiful babes, and a couple of good 'ole boys, it was a rare treat to watch as they tapped and traversed in and out of dazzling, glitzy headdresses, and short sequined costumes, some of which were created by the gals themselves. Conversely, there was "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" from "South Pacific," done in towels and headbands; to the umbrella routine from "Top Hat;" to the sexy black outfits with groovy gloves and garters from "Cabaret;" to the hip western shorts and cowboy hats from "Will Rogers Follies;" to a full stage vignette from "Into the Woods" to the very stylish blond and brunette coifs; down to the finest detail of proper dance foot-wear. All that with triads, synchronized lines and high kicks and the fastest costume changes and segues Flo Ziegfeld would ever have seen! These ladies, former Rockettes, showgirls and gypsies were the epitome of presentation, performance, and precision.

And now, the cherry on the top of this delicious, sweet confection; the appearance of Guest Stars: M&M, Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson. Equipped with the longest legs ever, the gorgeous, magnificent Melinda graced the stage as if floating in the air, while muscular hunk, Michael, sang and danced his unique style. Suggesting that even Gower and Bennet, and Fosse came to mind, Michael’s rendition of "Rich Man" from "Fiddler" by far exceeded any other choreography; and the famous character, Tevye could have used some of those endearing moves! With some cheeky jazz in "Razzle Dazzle" from "Chicago;" high kicks, top hats and reminiscent steps from "One" in "A Chorus Line;" this show- stopping duo shined with M&M's interpretation of Broadway musicals with unequaled panache.

Melinda, on pointe, at the ballet barre, was joined by Michael, with the most exquisite patterns. They performed a highly sophisticated adaptation of "Do You Love Me" from "Fiddler," emotionally packed with those meaningful lyrics and amazing moves that captured the talent, heart and love this couple generates. Kudos to M&M; stars that brought a little Vegas to this already perfect show.

In a flag filled finale, the company marched in formation with a salute to all the branches of the Armed Forces, America, and the Great White Way. A standing ovation proved the "The Broadway Beat" goes on and ON!

last chance to catch this feel-good show on Sunday March 24 at 2 PM at the Countess de Hoernle Theater, Boca Raton. Ticket info: or call: (561) 619-6408.

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