Professor Farquar and Polecat Annie

 

SANFORD D. LEE (Professor Farquar)

 

Professor Farquar and Polecat AnnieWhile studying drama at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Sanford Lee began his entertainment career in 1966. When he wasn’t involved with stage productions at college or the newly formed Missouri Repertory Theatre, he was performing as a folk singer at nearby coffee houses and pubs. Following graduation in 1971, Sandy ventured into television broadcasting, producing and hosting a daily talk show for KCBJ-TV in Columbia, Missouri.

In 1974, he returned to Kansas City to perform at Tiffany’s Attic Dinner Theatre. Two years later, he was touring the country with his own nightclub act of music and comedy (Rhett & Scarlett), and appearing in local and national television commercials (he even played Ronald McDonald briefly). In 1982, Sandy created the character Simpkin the Foole for the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, and continued to portray Simpkin for 16 years. He spent two seasons as the Renaissance Festival’s publicity director, formed a medieval touring troupe (Simpkin’s Feast of Fools), and then went on to produce promotional projects for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney On Ice. However, performing was his passion! In 1987, he created a new persona for himself, Professor B. T. Farquar, and launched a whole new career; performing at fairs, festivals, historic sites, museums and schools.

One of the best known variety acts on the circuit today, Farquar logs nearly 300 performances each year. He has recorded three albums of traditional music: “The Last American Minstrel” (1993), “A Ballad Monger’s Legacy” (2005) and “Hear the Drums Thunder” (2009).

 

MARY KATHRYN LEE (Polecat Annie)

 

Polecat Annie is a western wild woman; a child of the wilderness, raised by a family of weasels (or so the legend goes). She is the alter ego of multi-talented variety artist, Mary Kathryn Lee (acrobat, mime, juggler, puppeteer, balloon artist, percussionist and psychic). She began training as a dancer at the age of two, and spent most of her adolescence touring as a featured performer with Jack Orrick’s Youth Show. By age 16, she had opened her own dance studio. At the same time, she continued training as a gymnast with the U. S. Olympic Team and studying ballet at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music. After a knee injury prevented her from performing in the ‘68 Olympic Games, Mary used her experience and knowledge to assist other hopefuls; pursuing a career as a certified coach with the United States Gymnastics Federation (retiring in 1992).

Mary earned a reputation not only as a successful coach, but also as an exceptional instructor in tap, ballet and modern dance. For 13 years, she served as the choreographer for the Kansas City Renaissance Festival and won national recognition as an authority on traditional folk dance. Her character, Mad Maudlin (the rat lady) was one of the Renaissance Festival’s most popular attractions for eight seasons. In 1993, she joined her husband on the road as Curlie Dimple (a classic clown and purveyor of circus arts). Two years later, Polecat Annie was introduced to the world, and won instant acclaim.