A little song and a little dance, coupled with a whole lot of camaraderie, have kept members of the Vaud-Villities troupe coming back for spring productions year after year.
For Carolyn Yardley and Biddie Clark, that’s a combined 100-plus years.
When the 77th annual spring show for Vaud-Villities Productions opens Thursday, April 4, at the Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd. in Columbus, the two Upper Arlington women will add to their oh-so-veteran status with the cast.
“I call it a family, a second family,” said Yardley, who auditioned for the 1960 show after seeing her first performance of Vaud-Villities the year before, at the urging of her physician who suggested she “needed something to dig your teeth into.”
“I’ve been in the show ever since,” Yardley said. “I’ve never missed a show.”
“I was impressed with the show and wanted something to sing in,” said Clark, who also joined Vaud-Villities about half a century ago. “We sing beautiful music, and there are lots of nice people to be friends with.”
“I think it really is like a second family,” said Naomi Zweben-King, a Gahanna resident who has been a singer and dancer with the troupe since 1998 but is trying her hand at producing for this year’s spring show.
“The people I’ve met in Vaud-Villities, many of them have become good friends,” Zweben-King said. “It’s not just rehearsing with them. We see each other at other times of the year. You just bond so much, so you look forward to coming back year after year.
“It’s such a unique organization.”
Performances are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. April 4; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. April 5; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. April 6; and 2:30 p.m. April 7.
Tickets are available by calling 614-262-7469 or at tinyurl.com/y3kyvkpd.
This year’s theme is “The Magic of Music.”
“Which in some cases is literal,” Zweben-King said, noting that one of the numbers being performed is “Magic to Do” from the Broadway musical “Pippin.”
Another section of the show features a medley of songs by ABBA, the 1970s Swedish pop phenomenon.
“Songs you can’t help but get up and dance,” Zweben-King said. “Almost everyone has some kind of memory that’s associated with an ABBA song.”
“I love the fact that we change every year,” Yardley said of the spring show’s theme.
Yardley said she grew up in Clintonville and graduated from Columbus’ North High School before studying music and education at Capital University. She taught first and second grade in Columbus City Schools for 29 years.
Clark originally is from Ashland, and she credited her father with her love for music.
“My father was a fine baritone soloist,” she said. “I used to get carsick driving to see him as a guest artist with the Cleveland (Orchestra).”
After graduating from Wittenberg University, Clark taught school in Plainfield, New Jersey, before meeting her future husband, Bill Clark, a Columbus native who attended law school at Ohio State University.
They had four children, two of whom have been in the Vaud-Villities spring show. In fact, Jeff Clark is in the cast with his mom this time around.