The Austin Ch30nicles

Shannon Sedwick recalls the Chronicle's recognition of Esther's Follies' first star

The Austin Ch30nicles
June 10, 1983 / Vol. 2, No. 21
June 10, 1983 / Vol. 2, No. 21

Remember That Issue ... When the Diva Came Out?

Esther's Follies and The Austin Chronicle have always had a close relationship. The Chronicle was the one to proclaim the Follies' first "star," William Dente, aka Dame Della Diva, as a unique Austin phenomenon, a man equally at home honking like a goose, shrieking a high C, and wearing white athletic socks under his beaded ball gown as he hiked up his skirt to pee outside the old Esther's two-story dressing room. When our original theatre burned down, the Chronicle ran a simple photo that told it all: Lyova Rosanoff's piano, blackened and surrounded by rubble in the ruins of the fire. It woke me up to the special relationship that Esther's had with the city, not just one of a troupe of players getting a new show up each weekend, but a fierce love of "let's make fun of ourselves and damn anybody without a sense of humor!" We felt like we meant something important to the good vibes of Austin. People loaned us theatre seats and threw benefits, and that in turn made me reach out and get involved in Sixth Street and Downtown revitalization. The Chronicle mirrors what's best about Austin and reminds me every week how much I love being a part of it.

– Shannon Sedwick, co-founder and matriarch of Esther's Follies

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Esther's Follies
Esther's Follies Returns to Lighten Austin's Post-Pandemic Load
Esther's Follies Returns to Lighten Austin's Post-Pandemic Load
Guess what long-running comedy troupe is vaccinated, back onstage, and ready to make the city laugh again

Wayne Alan Brenner, July 16, 2021

Esther's Follies Meets Scooby-Doo in <i>The Haunting of the Tavern</i>
Esther's Follies Meets Scooby-Doo in The Haunting of the Tavern
In the Follies' new murder mystery comedy, chasing Emily the ghost leads to some real high jinkies!

Robert Faires, Oct. 18, 2019


Esther's Follies, Shannon Sedwick, William Dente, Dame Della Diva, 30th Anniversary, Austin Chronicle

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle