BROADWAY SENIOR To Adapt Musicals For Older Adults
"On the outside always looking in" are the words from the popular Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen about a teenager trying to fit in. They may also be used by older adults seeking vibrant creativity during their third act.
Juniper Communities has announced a collaboration with Music Theatre International for the launch of Broadway Senior, a new series of adaptations of popular Broadway musicals specifically designed for older adults stated Lynne Katzmann, CEO and founder.
The brainchild of Freddie Gershon, the co-chairman and former CEO of theatrical licensing powerhouse MTI and Tony honoree, Broadway Senior follows in the footsteps of Broadway Junior, which adapts and condenses Broadway musicals to be performed by elementary and middle school students.
In the spring of 2017, Freddie Gershon and Lynne Katzmann (mutual acquaintances on the non-profit Arts Connection) discovered a shared desire to bring theater into senior living. After many lively discussions, it was decided that Juniper Village at Brookline in State College would be the first senior living community to pilot the classic musical comedy, Guys and Dolls, Sr. Juniper Village at Brookline had all the necessary supports in place: a staff member who had a background in theater, residents who were delighted to be able to participate, an adventurous leadership team, and support from a dynamic local theater community - plus clearance for use of all of the licensed materials from MTI.
The success of Guys and Dolls, Sr. in May 2018, set the stage for additional productions at Juniper Village at Brookline. The program continues to expand and thrive through on-going support from the local theater community as well as involvement with various departments at neighboring Penn State University, including Penn State Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design, College of Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as faculty from Penn State Schools of Theatre and Music. Most recently in May 2019, Juniper's all-resident theater troupe was back on stage with a performance of Singin' in the Rain.
In a recent Playbill article from July 12, 2019, Freddie Gershon of MTI and Katie Kensinger of Juniper, shared their insights on the value of theater in senior living. Mr. Gershon stated "Don't write seniors off. They are in fact, courageous, and they want adventure and they're capable of it. I believe Broadway Senior will prolong healthy living and thinking." Mr. Gershon also added, "Most importantly, Lynne and her team had the courage to do something that no one else has ever done."
"So often in senior living we focus on what somebody used to do-what they did professionally, what their hobbies were, or who they were in their family. This is something totally new that people are discovering and being celebrated for now," says Katie Kensinger, Senior Director of Communications at Juniper. "The focus of Juniper is to help people to live life vibrantly in their third act. Broadway Senior gives our residents a sense of pride and accomplishment, and they have renewed self-esteem, and a sense of purpose. They're also building new friendships and are more engaged." This dovetails with a recent study by Promatura (researchers Margaret Wylde, PhD and Kristen Paris, PhD) which showed that camaraderie was the top predictor of satisfaction in a senior living environment.
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