Follies Brings Showstopping Flair to MC’s Homecoming Weekend
One of the most entertaining events of Mississippi College’s Homecoming Weekend is scheduled to return to the Clinton campus this fall, much to the delight of alumni and students who have taken part in the rollicking stage routines.
An MC tradition for more than 30 years, Follies is set to shake off its pandemic pause and deliver one-of-a-kind theatrical and musical performances at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, in Swor Auditorium in Nelson Hall. The level of talent and creativity on display by MC’s social clubs and tribes never fails to surprise the audience, according to Jonathan Nutt, director of student engagement at MC.
“You never really know what the shows are going to be, because the clubs and tribes pick different themes every year,” Nutt said. “It’s kind of a grab bag of performances each time. But it’s always entertaining to watch.
“It’s an opportunity for students to show off their talents. You get to figure out who can sing or who has dancing ability.”
Past performances have spoofed popular television shows and movies, from “Scooby-Doo” to “Ghostbusters” – all with a distinctive Mississippi College twist. While this year’s playbill hasn’t been finalized, Nutt said all of MC’s clubs and tribes will participate, each with a 10-minute show.
“The shows include singing, dancing and acting, and there’s a storyline for each,” he said. “Hosts will introduce each group and do some entertaining between each performance.”
Because so many MC alumni actually participated in Follies while they were in school, attending the show has become an essential part of their Homecoming experience, Nutt said.
“Follies is a hot ticket because it’s become a tradition on our campus,” he said. “It adds to the feel and festivities of Homecoming, which is one of the best weeks we have on campus all year.”
To make sure MC students have the opportunity to see the show, a performance free of charge just for them has been added at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in Swor.
“That opens up a lot of seats for other people to see it Friday night,” Nutt said.
There’s more on the line than mere entertainment for those who participate in the talent showcase. Electronic crowd voting during the student performance and independent judging of the following night’s show can help clubs and tribes earn points toward the Club and Tribe of the Year competition. First-, second- and third-place groups will be announced after the Saturday showcase.
Follies got its start in the mid-1980s when Dr. Lewis Nobles, then-MC president, asked the student groups to give a presentation to the University’s Board of Trustees. Each of the groups was given a different decade in MC’s history to represent.
The one-time presentation at the request of the president slowly grew into performances by new club and tribe members during MC’s Homecoming. In recent years, active club and tribe members have played more prominent roles in the show.
“Our students really seem to love any production on stage and really seem to enjoy participating in and watching them,” Nutt said. “It’s always fun to see our new club and tribe members participating in them along with the older members.”
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the clubs and tribes from performing in Follies last year. That unwanted break in the schedule has fueled the students’ determination to make this year’s show one of the most memorable ever produced, Nutt said.
“It was very important to us to be able to have Follies again because it is such a big deal on our campus,” he said. “Most of our freshmen and sophomores have never seen it. The students wanted to do it, regardless of what pandemic guidelines were in place, because it’s such a big tradition.”
The return of such an in-demand show is certain to place a premium on seats, so Nutt suggests placing ticket orders as early as possible.
“Our Family Weekend event this year was very highly attended, and Homecoming will be very highly attended as well,” he said. “We expect a lot of people will want to see Follies, so we do expect it to be a sellout again this year.”
Open seating tickets for the Oct. 29 Follies performance cost $20 each and will be available for sale at 10 a.m. CST on Thursday, Oct. 14. Audience members will be asked to comply with Mississippi College’s COVID-19 policy and wear facial coverings inside Swor Auditorium and Nelson Hall. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.mc.edu/follies.