On a grey Monday afternoon, the lyrics of the bright number "Red, Red Robin" fill a hall in North Delta - over and over again, with some stumbling over a line or two.
On stage, five women - Dorothy Perkins, Bernadette Ray, Alannah Jacques, Doris Carruthers and Penny DeSanto - are coached along by Marilyn Remus, the new artistic director of the Vaudevillians seniors' entertainment troupe.
"I throw quite a bit at them sometimes," Remus said later, "and for some of them it's hard to sing the words and do the motions at the same time. But they're getting it. These are seniors, bless their hearts."
Remus has clearly given new energy to the troupe, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a big show in November.
At the moment, Remus is honing some of the song, dance and comedy numbers the Vaudevillians will perform at a variety of places this spring and summer.
"We're drinking Geritol," Remus said with a laugh. "They have a lot of energy, I gotta give it to them, but it's about putting that energy into the number, to best reflect it."
Remus recently moved back to B.C. from Florida. In the U.S., she toured the country for two decades as director and choreographer with the Rogers company. Last spring, she saw a newspaper story about the troupe and decided to get involved behind the scenes.
Pat Trimble, who dances and sings with the Vaudevillians, said Remus has definitely brought great energy to the group.
"Marilyn can really connect with the people here, and she knows how to tell you that you've done something wrong without making you feel bad about it - you get the message in a good way," Trimble said. "She's very, very good at what she does.. It's just so invigorating working with her."
Likewise, Remus is enjoying the experience of directing the two-dozen Vaudevillians.
"It's been a difficult time for them, having lost a director and some challenges that way, so they need that solid support, and I hope I give that to them," said Remus, who lives in New Westminster. "You know, they're so good to me; I don't have a car and they'll come pick me up (for rehearsals at Kennedy seniors' rec centre) and bring me home again."
From January to June, seniors are welcome to audition for the busy troupe.
"We invite them to come here and see what we do, on any Monday from 1 to 4 p.m.," Trimble said. "Every year, we lose a few people and gain a few. That's just the reality of it."
For details about the troupe, call 604-5419591 or visit www.thevaudevillians.com.
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