Looking back at our history

From our earliest beginnings 30 years ago, we’ve come a long way.
But as they say… the best is still yet to come!

Our early beginning

The yearly New Wrinkles presentation at Fresno City College started in November 1988 with a newspaper advertisement seeking seniors (age 55 plus) interested in performing in a senior variety show under the direction of Tom Wright. The initial meeting was intentionally held off campus in the community meeting room of Manchester Center which also housed co-sponsor, Sears Roebuck. Approximately forty five interested seniors attended that first meeting.


First auditions

The following February (1989) auditions for the first show were held on the FCC Campus. New Wrinkles got its start as a community involvement for seniors under the auspicious of the Sears Roebuck Company. In addition to Fresno, they selected three locations across the country (Brainerd, Minnesota; Baltimore, Maryland; and Dallas, Texas) and provided “seed money” for the first two years of production. In each of these locations this senior project was known by a different name, with Fresno remaining as the only active company of senior performers.


Ten years in the spotlight

In 1998, New Wrinkles Celebrated its 10th anniversary with a musical review of the previous ten years.


Introducing Nick Hammel

Year fifteen of New Wrinkles saw the emergence of Nick Hammel as the show’s light-hearted master of ceremonies. Hammel, who joined the New Wrinkles Company in 1995 was a bay area showman and entertainer who relocated to Fresno in 1972 to pursue a college degree. His business holdings in Fresno included a cocktail lounge and a floral shop. He often referred to himself as a singing bar owner/businessman. After over seven years of recurring health problems, Mr. Hammel died on March 6, 2008. That year’s show Wrinkles In Review was dedicated to his memory.


A new season of leaders

In spring of 2004, well known central valley theatrical director, choreographer, and teacher, Fred Bologna assumed the show’s directorial responsibilities. Having studied dance in Fresno, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London, and in addition to his teaching duties at the Roosevelt School of the Arts, Bologna served several years and held prime leadership roles in the development of the Fresno Ballet. He is one of the original members of the Good Company Players and has been instrumental in many of their productions.

Joining Artistic Director Bologna as Musical Director and Vocal Coach was Dede Nibler, a Fresno area musician with a background in public music education and community theatre. Mrs. Nibler, retired after 30+ years in public education, was also the director of Voices United, an award winning Sweet Adeline Chorus. During her tenure, Dede received numerous awards for her involvement in arts education; was the director of Roosevelt School of the Arts for eight years; and had experience working with children’s theatre, church choirs, and quartet singing.

Creating choreography for the Bologna-Nibler collaborations was long time area dancer and teacher Judy Jo Wilson. Dancing since the age of five, Mrs. Wilson graduated from the American School of Dance in Los Angeles and operated Judy’s School of Dance in Clovis from 1971 until she passed away in 2023. 


In 2015, New Wrinkles celebrated the world of jazz with tributes to some of the musical greats of jazz and swing.


2016 took New Wrinkles on a tour of all things Hollywood with a musical tribute to the movies.


Our 2017 show rolled the dice and bet on the sparkling lights of Sin City with “Viva Las Vegas!”