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Helen Reddy steps back into spotlight in Folsom

Folsom Lake Entertainer
By: Don Chaddock, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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FOLSOM, CA - Helen Reddy, a name often linked to the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970s thanks to her song “I am Woman (Hear Me Roar),” is stepping into the spotlight once again. She kicks off her west coast tour with an Oct. 1 performance at Three Stages, 10 College Parkway, Folsom. From her home in Australia, the 70-year-old Reddy spoke by phone to the Entertainer, filling us in on why now is the perfect time to come out of retirement. “It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing, actually,” she said. “I have an older sister. It was her 80th birthday. She had a huge party and asked me to sing a duet. I hadn’t heard my voice in 10 years and then I heard it coming back over the speakers.” That experience, coupled with the reaction of those attending the big bash, sparked her desire to return to the stage. Reddy made a name for herself in the 70s, eventually hosting TV specials, starring in her own variety TV show, and appearing in films and stage plays. One family film is cherished by many. “It’s amazing how many adults come up to me and say they loved me (as Nora) in ‘Pete’s Dragon,’” she said. “For little kids who’ve maybe just seen the movie, they don’t make the connection. I just tell them I’m Nora’s mother.” She fondly recalls her time on the set of “Pete’s Dragon.” “That was an amazing experience, working on that film,” she said. “I turned down a lot of films at the time because I wouldn’t do nudity or violence, which is what so many of the films were then. I wanted my (future) grandchildren to be able to see the films. When ‘Pete’s Dragon’ came along, it was perfect.” She laments the recent losses of so many of the film’s stars. “So many people in that film are gone now,” she said. She was also in “Airport 1975” and did a number of TV stints including popular shows like “Fantasy Island,” “Love Boat” and “The Muppet Show” (singing a duet with Kermit the Frog). Reddy has a connection with northern California that goes back generations. “I had a great uncle who went to (California) during the Gold Rush,” she said. Reddy eventually landed in California herself, doing shows with Sacramento Music Circus along with her sister. “I did Music Circus many years ago,” she said. “I was in ‘Anything Goes,’ ‘Call Me Madame’ (and others). I particularly like Old Town Sacramento. … I feel a connection with California (and) the northern part of the state.” In fact, she’s planning to return to the U.S. on a more permanent basis. Reddy holds dual citizenship, which she attained in 1974. Her children and grandchildren reside in the U.S., so she’s been traveling between Australia and the U.S. three times each year. “I’m getting tired of that long flight,” she joked. “Actually, I’ve missed a lot of my granddaughter’s life. … It’s time to come home.” Part of that homecoming is her return to the stage. “The audience should expect a good show with lots of good music,” she said. “I mix the the ballads with the up-tempo songs. I pace the shows.” Coming from a musical family, she said her father is the one responsible for teaching her proper pacing for shows. “I’m looking forward to being in the Sacramento area again,” she said. ----- AN INTIMATE EVENING WITH HELEN REDDY When: 7:30 p.m., Oct. 1 Where: Three Stages, 10 College Parkway, Folsom Tickets: $29-$39, Premium $49 Info: threestages.net