Musical Boomermania a Retro Treat @ the El Portal

By: Feb. 15, 2011
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written & directed by Debbie Kasper & Pat Sierchio
El Portal Forum Theatre
through March 27

"We are the world. We are the boomers"...sing the cast to the tune of "We Are The Children", and like the new and clever lyrics to this oldie but goodie, 90% of the show indeed boasts some very clever material. Conceived and written by Debbie Kasper and Pat Sierchio, who also direct, Boomermania will appeal most to... baby boomers like me who lived through the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s and have fond memories of growing up with the music and pop culture of that era. Like any parody, it means more to you and you appreciate it, if you lived it! Now on stage @ the Forum Theatre of the El Portal, Boomermania's highly entertaining sketches and cast make it devilishly worthwhile.

At times I felt like I was watching Saturday Night Live or Laugh-In, where silliness ran rampant. Other times, through laughter and tears I was reminded of an innocence that no longer exists. The prediction of pocket phones and even flying cars and future vacations on the moon were actual conversations I remember hearing between my parents and grandparents. Then, of course, all those TV commercials promoting every product imaginable. The age of sugar and consumerism made me fat and out of shape. It made my mother a lazier housewife as she juggled a pile of Swanson's and Mrs. Paul's TV dinners. On the serious side, there were educational films about atom bombs - Duck and Cover - which now make the government look ludicrous and cruel; they certainly cared very little about children's feelings. And what about Woodstock and the horrorific effect of drugs? How the age of rock 'n roll caused damage as well as folly! How can we complain about kids today when we set that pitiful code of behavior! But we were survivors as the show sets forth and always ready to move ahead and charter new territory. We've just got to laugh at all the foibles and let it go!

The show really moves as it explores the 60s and the 70s, and that's enough. Somehow going into the 80s and even 90s seems unnecessary. At least 20 minutes should be cut to keep it closer to two hours. As is, it's too long. That aside, I loved the cast: Dylan Vox, Daniel Amerman, Paul Lange, Susan Huckle, Alison Friedman and Kimberly Wood, who when appropriately over-the-top - which appears to be most of the time - give the vehicle its driving power. The Act II opening scene in a car with mom, military dad and two kids in the back seat - all trying to choose a song to sing together - is hilarious, about the best of the crop.

This is a truly fun evening that will grow better and better with each performance. You don't want to miss it!





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