Rotary Club Showcase Features a Johnny Carson Parody

By Sue Moore

Showcase 2020, the Vicksburg Rotary Club’s 67th annual show, introduces Carnac the Magnificent, played by fan favorite Bryan Huey. He will be onstage at the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center (PAC) February 28, 29 at 7 p.m. and March 1 for a 2 p.m. matinee.
Carnac was a recurring role played by Johnny Carson on his Tonight Show in the 1960s. One of the comedian’s’s best-known characters, Carnac was a “mystic from the East” who could psychically divine unknown answers to unseen questions.

Vicksburg’s version of Johnny Carson, known as Johnny Vickers, will be accompanied by a version of Ed McMahon, known here as Ed Versity and played by Buff Coe, retired Methodist minister from Vicksburg. Another new wrinkle for the 2020 show will feature women in the chorus. This is the very first time for women chorus members in the 67 years of the show that used to be known as Showboat. It had an all-male cast and still is the primary fundraiser of the Rotary Club.

If that isn’t enough change for ticket holders, the show will be directed by Wendy Wheeler, the first female chorus director. She is well-known to choir students at Vicksburg High School as their vocal instructor for special lessons. In another life she teaches music in kindergarten through 8th grade at the Gagie School in Kalamazoo.

“We are fortunate to have Wendy join the show to bring new ideas for music programming for the chorus,” said Larry Forsyth, the show’s general chairman. “She has chosen all-new music for the chorus with such popular hits as Disney Dazzle!, Don’t Stop Believin’ from the TV series “Glee”, a tribute to Queen and ending with the stirring Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Specialty acts are introduced by Johnny throughout the two-hour performance, including Vicksburg native Chris Ross and wife Jamie in Dogpatch Lullaby and Kathy Oswalt Forsythe, a Vicksburg High School English teacher and South County News columnist. Vicksburg’s own vocal teacher, Dusty Morris, has a tenor solo and 4 Got to Shave, the much-loved quartet that has performed in the show for many years, will be back again.

Tickets are available at the Church Allstate Insurance Agency, 125 East Prairie Street, 269-475-1033 or at the box office at the high school PAC on performance days.

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