The Tower Theatre Foundation announced the return of the Bend Follies with the selection of this year’s co-hosts Maralyn Thoma (owner, 2nd Street Theater) and Chuck Arnold (Executive Director, Downtown Bend Business Association).

The Bend Follies is a lighthearted, fast-paced comedy show starring prominent business, civic, educational and entertainment leaders showing off their singing, dancing and joke-telling skills. The Follies opens Friday, April 25 and, appropriately, closes the next night, Saturday, April 26.

In an effort to put some “fun” back in “fundraising,” the Follies are the Tower’s major event celebrating and underwriting the important role the nonprofit venue plays in the cultural life of Central Oregon.  Both evenings have silent and live auctions, plus opportunities for audience members to use cash, checks and credit cards to “vote” for their favorite act to receive a “Gratuitous Standing Ovation.”

“Maralyn and Chuck have their work cut out for them,” said Brad Ruder, serving his second sentence as Follies producer. “Maralyn is a wonderful actress, but we’re not sure yet about her ad libbing ability. Chuck has several characters living in his head; it remains to be seen which of them will show up on the Tower stage.”

“When the Source Weekly’s Readers Poll named the Follies ‘Bend’s Best Local Fundraiser,’” added Ray Solley, executive director of the Tower Theatre Foundation, and executive producer of the fundraiser, “we knew we had pulled the wool over the eyes of Central Oregon’s most intelligent citizens. The pressure is now on Thoma and Arnold and Ruder to extend our one-year winning streak, damn it!”

The Tower’s development director, Todd Dickerson, put it succinctly: “We just want everyone to feel good about Bend, the Tower, their somewhat talented friends and neighbors – and to leave the event with very little money left in their wallets.”

The list of Central Oregonians participating in this year’s Follies will be announced in late March.

The Tower Theatre Foundation owns and operates the historic stage in downtown Bend. The Foundation’s mission is to be the leading performing arts organization, providing cultural and education programs that make an essential contribution to Central Oregon’s lifestyle and strengthen the community.  Individual and group tickets are available at the box office (835 NW Wall), by phone (541-317-0700) or online (www.towertheatre.org).