Our Cast is made up of men and women age 55 and older from all walks of life. They’ve worked as teachers, laborers, business people; raised families and spent time in military service to our country. Their common thread is a desire to be involved in an activity that would provide a means for them to experience the thrill of using their talents to entertain others. The success of the show is a result of the combined efforts of an all-volunteer cast that gives their time and talents for costume and set construction as well as for entertaining.
Originally begun in 1987 at Central Lakes College, the Geritol Frolics came to the stage of Franklin Arts Center in 2004 as the result of a revival effort by former cast members after the show was discontinued by the college in 2001. Director Ed Yunker and his wife, Yvonne, write the show and generally conduct the business of putting the show together. Yvonne serves as costume designer and is a member of the dance line.
The Geritol Frolics is registered as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All revenue is used to pay cost-of-production for each season as well as support continuation of the program.
A native of Crosby, MN, Ed has been in the area since his discharge from the US Navy in 1961. He has been involved in area theatrical productions since 1972 when his first audition landed him the role of J. Pierpont Finch in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. Over the years he has been involved in many productions; among them, Stanley Kowalski in “Streetcar Named Desire”, Gaylord Ravenal in “Showboat”, Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” and the King in “King and I”. In 1987 he became a ‘techie’ for the newly formed Geritol Frolics working behind the scenes until joining the Cast as a performer in 1995 at the age of 56. Production of the show was discontinued in 2001.
Instrumental in putting the show back on stage in 2004 at Franklin Arts Center, Ed gives credit for whatever success he has had in that role to having worked with and learned from a number of very good Directors over the years. He credits the success of the show to the dedication and hard work of the talented people in the Cast.
Ed and his wife, Yvonne, co-writer of the show, live on one of the Brainerd-area lakes. They have eight children, 12 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren..
Yvonne first became involved with theatre in the mid-50’s at Brainerd Junior College. She joined the Geritol Frolics in 1994 after some tragic personal experiences because it offered an opportunity to re-connect with the pleasure of being on stage and a chance to meet new people and make new friends. “This show offers so much to anyone 55 years or over who is willing to put forth the effort. The really nice part is they don’t have to be a star quality performer to get a moment in the spotlight.”
In 2004, she assumed the roles of co-writer (with her husband Ed) and costume designer for the revival effort to put the show back on stage and was thrilled to be able to be a member of the dance line. She is glad to be able to give back to the show and is looking for a successful, long-running future for the Geritol Frolics. Like Ed she credits the success of the show to the wonderful people who have been given their time and worked so diligently to keep it alive and vibrant.
At the age of the ten I fell in love with an idle piano sitting in the basement of my family’s new home and have been creating music ever since. Currently a piano and guitar teacher out of my home in Baxter, I am amazed
by the opportunities I have been given to teach and perform. I feel especially fortunate to have found a gig where my students’ inspiration and my drive to see them grow as independent musician meet.
My latest musical adventure is directing the choir at the Woodland Good Samaritan Home in Brainerd. Although I’m pretty sure I got the job by default, it has proven to be a gift to those of us touched by it.
When I’m not doing music, I can be found enjoying my family. My husband and I have two ambitious daughters in college and a Yorkie named Bandit.