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Too Old For the Chorus, But Not Too Old To Be a Star

According to the opening number in this new musical revue by Mark Winkler, Marie Cain, and Shelly Markham, "Every Seven Seconds" a baby boomer turns 50 and receives an invitation to join the AARP. That makes for a big potential audience for this "exploration of the trials and tribulations of getting older in our youth obsessed society." The decidedly boomer audience I viewed it with seemed to enjoy it, even though the show comes across more demeaning than celebratory in its upbeat comic numbers. The laughter may have been as defensive as it was appreciative.

There already has been an entire show--Menopause--The Musical, yet these creators give over four numbers to that condition, milking it for all they can. The quieter, more heartfelt moments are the show's bright spots. "The Road Not Taken" is a lovely forlorn yet accepting ballad of choices made in life. "Quiet Fire" is a lovely song about aging but ageless lovers, while "The Child Is Father to the Man" is a heartbreakingly touching tune about middle-aged children become caretakers to their aging, dependent parents.

The boomer-aged quintet is very talented and seems to be enjoying itself. Teri Ralston displays that amazing four-octave range that delights the ear, and her emotional resonance deepens the melancholic touch of her ballads. Hoofer Steve Anthony shows plenty of sparkle, especially on his big tap number, "When 50 Wore a Tux." Brian Byers offers a strong presence, while David Holmes and Susan Jordan--the latter stuck with the thankless menopause moments--provide the bulk of the laughs. The music, from a three-piece pit band with musical direction by Lisa LeMay, ranges from pop to rap to country-western, but there is no distinctive sound, and what we remember most are the riffs on more familiar tunes, such as West Side Story's "I Feel Pretty" or A Chorus Line's "One." Paula Kalustian's direction is unobtrusive if a bit slavish to certain homages. Anthony's big tap number is spoiled by having mirrors across the back of the stage as in A Chorus Line. The authors have also worked overtime in creating characters for the performers to play, yet there is very little to connect them or a plot to build upon. The show would work better as a straight-out revue.

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