Frantic Follies folds

The Frantic Follies Vaudeville Show won’t celebrate a 48th birthday.

The Frantic Follies Vaudeville Show won’t celebrate a 48th birthday.

On March 3 co-owner Grant Simpson announced the Frantic Follies was closing citing low tourism numbers.

“The current cast is naturally disappointed as we were all hoping for another season, however, tourist numbers make the risk too great and we have made the responsible decision at the right time,” Simpson wrote in a statement.

The iconic show lost a big source of revenue in 2012 when the Alaska-Yukon tour company Holland America decided to drop it from its tour packages.

While the company itself never funded the show, being included in Holland America itineraries helped guarantee a steady stream of spectators.

In 2011, Frantic Follies co-founder Lyall Murdoch told the News Holland America accounted for about 60 per cent of its revenue.

Back then the show employed 15 people each summer as cast members and another 10 working backstage and in the office.

In his statement, Simpson thanked local businesses that stepped in after Holland America’s departure.

“We could not have survived this long without their generosity and support,” Simpson wrote. “Thank you from the bottom of our vaudevillian hearts.”

Calling the show a “Yukon tourism beacon,” Simpson also made a point of thanking Yukon fans of the show.

“And to the hundreds of Yukoners who came to the shows time and time again. Laughing at the same jokes. Stealing punch lines. Bringing relatives. Telling other people ‘go and see the Follies!’,” he wrote. “Thank you all very much.”

Simpson said that there will still be smaller shows for special events.

Despite the iconic show shutting down, Murdoch seemed proud of what had been accomplished.

“Forty-seven years, that’s a pretty good run,” he told Simpson, according to the statement.

Simpson wasn’t immediately available for an interview.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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