Sixteen enthusiastic candidates running for local office will grace the stage at the Firehouse Center on Friday night. But these candidates, including Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday and one of her challengers, Greg Earls, will not be delivering a speech, but will instead show the world their other talents during the third annual Portbury Follies.
“There’s a lot going on in a couple of hours,” said Follies executive producer Susanne Cameron. “It’s a busy election; therefore, we have a very busy show.”
The Follies, a variety show to benefit the Roof Over Head Collaborative, Inc., will feature two hours of music, dance, spoken word and even some magic, all performed by the people who want your vote in the mayoral and City Council races this November. Roof Over Head is a nonprofit organization that provides housing to local families in transition in Newburyport, Amesbury and Salisbury.
“We’re trying to keep it apolitical,” Cameron said. “It’s really just a chance for people to come out and have fun, and the fact that they are here means that they are running. We got this idea from a group in Hyde Park in Boston. They did a fundraiser for theater there and they invited their candidates to perform, including (Boston) Mayor Menino and other candidates in the Boston area. And it was a huge success.”
So, Cameron figured, why not do it in Newburyport?
“The first year we ran it, it was also a (local) election year,” Cameron said. “The candidates are not allowed to stump. They are not allowed to bring campaign signs. They are not allowed to do anything political. They are just allowed to get out there and have fun.”
But still, it worked. Holaday performed a spoken word performance and City Councilor Ed Cameron sang the Beatles tune, “Revolution.” Others who performed were former City Councilor Kathleen O’Connor Ives, who sang a tune, and City Councilor Ari Herzog, who also gave a spoken word performance.