What? No mention on this group of this monumental occassion for the longest running (and best) Disney musical stage production. Randy, how about getting a track from this show on the next official album? After 30 years, the Hoop-Dee-Doo has paid its dues and deserves a spot in the line up! ------------------------ From the Osceola News-Gazette ------------------------ They?ve been singing for your supper for 30 years Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue celebrates 28,000 shows 28 May 2004 By Peter Covino News-Gazette Entertainment Editor Make ?em laugh. For three performances a day, every day, the Pioneer Hall Players, better known as The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, show up for work at Pioneer Hall at Disney?s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Since June 1974, that adds up to more than 28,000 performances, which has to be a record of some sorts, certainly for a dinner theater production in the state of Florida. Through the years there have been literally dozens of men and women who have played Dolly, Flora, Jim Handy, Johnny Ringo, Six Bits and Clair, the six characters who make up the Pioneer Hall Players. And once a Pioneer Hall Player, apparently, always a Pioneer Player. As the Hoop-De-Doo Revue nears its 30th birthday event, Disney officials gathered up a few of the original players to view a performance of the ever-popular Western vaudeville-style show. And that means plenty of reminiscing and singing along. ?Our guests just come back time after time to see the show,? said Gene Columbus, a former production stage manager with the revue starting back in 1977. The revue actually got its start as a college workshop summer production, but proved to be so popular that a permanent professional cast began performing the show in September of 1974. ?The audiences just love the characters, and I believe the actors feel the same way? about the roles they play. ?It?s hard to find an actor who didn?t love the show.? Maybe one of the things that makes a couple from Ohio who saw the show 10 years ago on their honeymoon and return for their anniversary is its continuity. The more the world changes, the more the Hoop-De-Doo show remains the same. Maybe the price has gone up over the past 30 years ? a newspaper article reviewing the show in 1976, commented that the adult ticket priced at $12.50 was a bit expensive, ?you do get fed and feted right,? ? there is a lot of comfort in the familiar down home humor and music, served up along with all those spare ribs, fried chicken, corn and baked beans, and that strawberry shortcake. The dinner show, including tax and gratuity, is now $49.01 for adults, ages 12 and up, but that doesn?t stop the show from being sold out daily. Indeed, reservations are required. Sitting at a table full of former Hoop-Dee-Doo performers is not unlike attending a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Everyone knows the words to every song, along with all that corny, homespun dialogue. ?The show has changed somewhat through the years, but it really hasn?t strayed that much,? said Patty Kalber, who played Dolly from 1983-89 and is now an entertainment manager at Epcot. Kalber, who is also a veteran of the old Diamond Horseshoe Revue over at the Magic Kingdom, said being a part of the Hoop-Dee-Doo ensemble, was something she always wanted to do, and like her fellow former Pioneer Players, she still misses those performances. Both on-stage and off, just about everyone associated with the show is part of one big family. ?Even the service staff feels the same way,? said Kalber, who was greeted time and time again with hugs and smiles as more food was brought to the table. ?Some of them have been here for 25-30 years.? ?People who come back year after year, usually look for the same server,? said Wayne Gagne, who performed Jim Handy in the 1970s, moved to California, only to return for another stint with the show 1981-86. If anyone should be familiar with the show, it would be Gagne, who also worked as stage manager. And even though the years have passed, he still seemed to know every line and routine from the show. So he wasn?t all that surprised when he was singled out by Dolly early in the show as the object of her flirtation and sweetly called him Wayne at tableside. What Gagne forgot, though, is that the bit has a closure at the end, and the entertainer, who is still an entertainment team leader at Disney, was immersed in conversation at the table when Dolly purrs up on stage that what she really wants is Wayne. Gagne looked up in horror and said his own name in unison with Dolly. Dolly immediately came running down from the stage, with bright spotlight in pursuit, and planted a big kiss on the former performer. ?I can?t believe I forgot about that,? said the red-faced Gagne, ?but actually, it was kind of fun.? And fun is what the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue has been excelling in for the past 30 years. The cast really has a good time putting on the show, and it rubs off onto the audience. ?I really miss the feeling of family with the cast and the audience,? said Gagne. ?And the ribs. I miss the ribs.? There will be a special private midnight performance of the Hoop-De-Doo Revue on June 14 marking the 30th anniversary of the show. The cast will include many of the original performers from the show, and the audience as well will be made up of former members of the Pioneer Hall Performers. Daily showtimes are 5, 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. For reservations call 407-WDW-DINE.