According to Empower LA more than 1.8 million people 60 and older live in greater L.A. County and more than 700,000 of them are in the City of L.A.
If you look to entertainment in movies and television, you’ll see young actors in the throes of passion. No one is writing about “seniors” or the “mature” trying to figure out where the passion went and how to address it.
Jerry Mayer’s plays take on the senior world – forgetfulness, getting old and sex.
Yes, sex. It appears that seniors do indeed have sex. Mayer, who is a long-time Palisadian started his career as a television writer for “All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Mary Tyler Show” and “The Bob Newhart Show.” He turned to writing for the stage in the 1980s.
For the past eight years, the Santa Monica Playhouse has been producing his plays and with this new musical “You Haven’t changed a Bit and Other Lies,” he continues to poke truth at aging, but with a light-hearted comedic take.
This 75-minute show highlights three couples who have been married for ages and decide to renew their marriage vows.
But wait, there have been some problems. How do the men adapt to retirement, what are the physical challenges they face, and how do the women fare as they age?
The actors are all excellent and one only needs to read their biographies to know they are not neophytes and know exactly how to get the most from every line.
Steve Siegel (Chris DeCarlo) and wife Sarah (Evelyn Rudie) discuss ways to help remember names and other facts—and this reviewer laughed so hard, when Steve calls his wife from a parking garage, not able to locate his car.
Eddie and Audrey Bellini (Kyle Heffner and Palisadian Rachel Galper) are highly entertaining, with Heffner stealing the scene on more than one occasion.
Liz and Mike Dooley (Barbara Keegan and Tom Van Dyke), whose marriage is in trouble, have the difficult task of fighting through their long-time problems.
The music and lyrics are written by Steve Mayer, Jerry’s son, who has been composing for film, television and computer games since 1996. His clients include Disney, HGTV, MSNBC and E! Network, but he writes in the playbill that his favorite client is his father, “despite the low pay and long hours.”
The songs are fun – and a good girlfriend especially loved “Upper Arms,” which discusses the insecurity women have about the “waddle” on their upper arms, which means many choose not to wear sleeveless tops after a certain age.
This reviewer particularly liked “The Role Reversal Tango,” in which Steve, Eddie and Mike wondered when in their married life the rehearsal had occurred. The choreography by Cynde Moore is perfect for the small stage and the six actors dance and move their way through the 16 songs.
The rear of the stage is lit with pictures that help change the scenery, allowing among other designs, a parking garage and different house interiors. James Cooper’s video projections and lighting design are spot on.
It truly is an enjoyable evening and particularly recommended for the “mature” audience. To be honest, I’m not sure a 30-something crowd could appreciate the truth about aging that finds its way into the acting and songs—lots of laughs, lots of truth.
Directed by Chris DeCarlo, the pacing is good, and this is the perfect fare for the Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage, located at 1211 4th Street, just off Wilshire.
The musical will play Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through April 10. General admission is $35, but discounts are available for students, teachers, seniors and members of the military. Call (310) 394-9779 or visit santamonicaplayhouse.com.