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

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More Esther's Follies
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

Legerdemain Man Ray Anderson
Legerdemain Man Ray Anderson
The fact that magicians around the world revere the magic man of Esther's Follies is no illusion

Jesse Sublett, Nov. 30, 2018


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

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