FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. — The divine hand of God has certainly been with the Fabulous Fifties Show since its start more than 30 years ago when Fayetteville’s Peggy Mann was inspired as she watched a variety show in Shelbyville and decided to make something similar happen here in Lincoln County.
Calling on Cary Sullivan to assemble the talent and sell tickets, she enlisted Edith McKay to write the script, and the Fabulous Fifties Show was born.
“The first show was a hit with two performances and raised $7,500 for the American Cancer Society,” said Jane Wilcox, who has carried the baton as the show’s producer now for many years. “For 20 years, the proceeds went to support the American Cancer Society. The last eight years, however, have seen the funds go to the Multi-County Cancer Support Network.”
MCCSN is a non-profit organization designed to provide emotional, educational and financial support to cancer patients and their families in southeastern Tennessee. The funds help people with purchasing wigs, gas for transportation to and from treatments, mortgage payments, and other expenses incurred while out of work with this dreaded disease. MCCSN serves an eight-county area, including Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Marion, Moore, and Warren counties.
“Last year’s performances netted approximately $80,000 to help cancer victims,” said Wilcox.
“There are only three people left who have been with the show for all 30 years,” she continued. “Cary Sullivan has worn many of the behind-the-scenes hats. She has produced, organized, gathered talent, sold tickets, made schedules, soothed ruffled feathers, sweet-talked people into doing phenomenal things and has been one of the most avid supporters of anyone of the show.
“Mickie Bigham has sung, danced, directed the back-up singers, listened to untold hours of music to get the right ‘da dums’ and ‘ahhhs’ in songs, and given support to everyone,” she continued, adding, “Lucy Cowley has the talent to always find a part to add to the harmonies that no one else hears. She keeps our spirits up with kind words and brings levity to sometimes tense situations with funny backstage antics.
“These dedicated people have seen many great things happen on and off the stage during the making of the shows,” said Wilcox. “We are so fortunate that they have lent their talents to make The Fabulous Fifties Show such a success throughout the years.”
Throughout the 30 years, there have been only five producers of the show. These people have pulled off miracles by meeting deadlines, finding last-minute replacements for singers, actors and musicians — even on the night of a performance, arranging schedules and making sure everyone is where they need to be. It is a sometimes daunting, but immensely satisfying job.
Final Week of Performances
The 30th Annual Fabulous Fifties Show, “Rockin’ Back in Time”, enters its final week of performances this week in the auditorium of Ninth Grade Academy (NGA) at 900 South Main Avenue in Fayetteville.
Remaining shows are set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 31, April 1 and 2, and with one remaining afternoon show at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.
Tickets, $15 each or $5 for children over the age of 3, are available at Bagley & Bagley, Bank of Lincoln County, Carter’s Drug Store, CB&S Bank, the Chamber of Commerce, First Commerce Bank, First National Back, Lincoln County Trustee’s Office, Moore County Bank, & Region’s Bank.
“Ticket prices have remained the same for several years so as not to put a strain on people’s pocketbooks,” said Wilcox. “If our patrons would like to make a donation above and beyond the ticket price, they can buy t-shirts, concessions and souvenir items at the show.”
The back page of the program can be filled out and turned in at the show with a donation in honor or in memory of someone. Donations can also be mailed to MCCSN, P.O. Box 225, Winchester, TN 37398.