If retirement is meant for playing, then Kay Siebold and Barbara Bostic are at the top of their game.
As members of the Sarasota Silver Stars, Siebold and Bostic are actresses, singers, dancers and poster girls for agelessness.
Tall, fit and dressed in matching black leggings, it’s easy to see why the two friends and fellow performers spend so much time at the Players Theatre.
They love the spotlight — and the spotlight loves them.
“We want the community to see how much fun we have,” Siebold says.
“And we need men,” Bostic adds.
The two women giggle, and Bostic blushes.
“Oh, you know what I mean,” she says. “We could use more men in the group. The group needs men. Not us.”
Not every female performer can coerce her husband to go on stage, as Siebold has done with her husband, Wayne, a retired elementary school principal. He is among only a handful of men on the Silver Stars roster and will appear as a bumbling magician in the troupe’s March 17 show.
“My husband never thought of himself as an actor,” Siebold says. “Then, all of a sudden he’s in all these skits. I see it all the time. People are afraid to say they’re actors. And then they start pulling it out of themselves.”
The women are seated at a table in the lobby at the Players Theatre, kvetching about the Academy Awards: who looked frail (Angelina Jolie) and who looked adorable (Michelle Williams).
They say the theater feels like their second home. Bostic jokes that without it, she’d constantly be in her kids’ hair.
To sit at a table beside these women is invigorating. Even their director and choreographer, Berry Ayers, who moonlights as Sarasota’s favorite foul-mouthed drag queen, Beneva Fruitville, says Siebold and Bostic keep him “on his toes.”
Named after Sarasota Senior Theatre founder Irene Silver, the Silver Stars was born in May out of the blending of two local theater troupes: The Sarasota Senior Theatre, which Silver founded more than 12 years ago, and The Players Follies, for which Siebold served as dance captain.
A nonprofit organization comprised of about 60 members ages 50 and up, the Silver Stars meets three times a week and stages two main stage productions and several lobby shows a year.
“I don’t have any formal training because growing up we couldn’t afford it,” Bostic says. “I used to sing and dance at home to all the big musical numbers, dreaming that one day I’d be able to dance on stage. (Silver Stars) has given me the ability to live out a fantasy.”
A former Miss Rhode Island, Bostic, a Longboat Key resident, is a self-effacing mother-of-two who once represented her home state in the 1966 Miss Universe pageant.
“There was no talent portion,” she explains. “Miss Universe was beauty, face, figure, then brains.”
A pageant girl to this day, she placed first in the swimsuit competition at the “Ms. Longboat Key: 50 and Fabulous” contest held seven years ago during the town’s 50th anniversary celebration.
A former flight attendant for the now-defunct Eastern Airlines, Bostic spent most of her career working as a beauty consultant for Elizabeth Arden and Estée Lauder cosmetic companies.
Siebold, however, has tap-danced her entire life.
A trained dancer and teacher, she taught tap and jazz for 16 years in Saudi Arabia, traveling with her students all over the country before moving in 1997 to Sarasota.
She came to the Players four years ago to perform in the theater’s Broadway musicals, landing roles in “The Producers,” “Oklahoma,” “Seussical,” “Anything Goes” and “Dear World.”
It’s no wonder she has the musculature of a woman half her age.
“We try to avoid the term ‘senior,’” Siebold says. “We like to say we’re ‘experienced.’ I mean … look, the Silver Stars goes to senior centers and assisted-living facilities to perform.”
Siebold has a point. And in case you missed it, her neon orange pedicure and stiletto heels should remind you: She’s no old lady.
In fact, the self-described “glamma” (not grandma) is so loath to share her age that she refrains from ordering discounted coffee at McDonald’s. And when filling out forms at doctors’ offices, she likes to write “contemporary” in the age blank.
To illustrate how contemporary she really is, Siebold reaches for a photo album and flips open to a snapshot of herself, Bostic and four other Silver Stars dressed in black fishnet stockings, corsets and garter belts — the costumes from their version of “Chicago’s” “Cell Block Tango.”
“Oh, look at us,” Bostic says. “It’s funny because I was never one to stand up in class and do a monologue. I’d have rather faked a sickness and gone to the nurse’s office.”
Now she’s covering Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” in racy costumes, often of her own design.
“It helps to keep yourself together,” she says of flaunting her body after 50.
“Of course, we’re always trying to out-do one another,” Siebold adds.
“Yeah, and you’re always winning,” Bostic groans.
IF YOU TAP
Kay Siebold is teaching a tap workshop from 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 12 through March 15, at The Players Theatre. Price is $50.
IF YOU GO
The Sarasota Silver Stars will perform “The Golden Age of Broadway” at 7 p.m. March 17, in the lobby at the Players Theatre. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 365-2494.
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