Review: 70, GIRLS, 70 at Lonny Chapman Theatre

70, Girls, 70 is an absolutely delightful gem of a musical running through December 17th.

By: Nov. 26, 2023
Review: 70, GIRLS, 70 at Lonny Chapman Theatre

70, Girls, 70 is an absolutely delightful gem of a musical from the award-winning Group Repertory Theatre at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood.  Directed with genius comedy by industry legend Bruce Kimmel (known for his prolific work in countless great classic sitcoms, directing and Grammy-nominated record producing), this 1970s period show is funny, bright-hearted, poignant, and magnetically uplifting.

Review: 70, GIRLS, 70 at Lonny Chapman Theatre
The enchanting cast of Group Repertory Theatre's
 70, Girls, 70 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre

The feel-good musical tells the story of penniless, retirement-age friends who live in an old residential hotel in New York City that is being closed down.  Afraid of losing their only home, they follow the lead of the glamorous, plucky, larger-than-life Ida (this play’s Auntie Mame, played with great flair by Broadway veteran Barbara Minkus) and begin stealing furs from upscale department stores.  But will these madcap septuagenarian thieves be able to get together enough cash to buy the hotel building and save their beloved home in time— or will they get caught first?

70, Girls, 70 is such a tremendous pleasure from to start to finish that you will wonder why you haven’t seen it before.  It is hard to believe this enchanting musical had an abbreviated opening run on Broadway in 1971, in spite of having Broadway wizards Kander & Ebb behind it, musical creators of Cabaret and Chicago.  Here with Group Repertory Theatre, extraordinary musical director Carol Weiss and producers Suzy London and Doug Haverty have captured some real magic.   I exited the Lonny Chapman Theatre humming these great songs like “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup”, “Boom Ditty Boom”, “Home”, and “Yes” and feeling about a thousand times happier and lighter.  I utterly loved this show.

Review: 70, GIRLS, 70 at Lonny Chapman Theatre
Regan Carrington, Judy Nazemetz, Fay DeWitt,
Barbara Minkus, and Doug Haverty star in 70, Girls, 70

Not all voices in the cast have the same Broadway belting power, but the entire company succeeds equally as quirky and delightful and memorable characters, with hilarious comedy and buckets of charm.  Several actors stand out in this winning ensemble of distinguished actors with pretty impressive resumes.

Hisato Masuyama has a gorgeous, rich, melodious Broadway voice, impeccable comedic timing, and sparkling, captivating stage presence. He shines in every scene he’s in, whether he’s a tap dancing disposable cup (glorious!) or a suspicious cop.

Review: 70, GIRLS, 70 at Lonny Chapman Theatre
Regan Carrington and Judy Nazemetz star in 
70, GIRLS, 70

Judy Nazemetz is a total treasure.  She has the lovable quirk and comedic dazzle of Danny DeVito, and I utterly adored her coffeeshop waitress Fritzi and her great chemistry and heartwarming camaraderie with Regan Carrington.  Regan Carrington as coffeeshop waitress Melba is glorious.  She commands the stage with a great voice, unstoppable charisma, solar flares of bright energy, and an innate gift for storytelling and comedy.  You can’t stop watching her.

The lively tempo and cheery, jazzy, effervescent buzz of the show is also stirred up by the live musicians, who are superb, including Carol Weiss (Piano), Thomas Silcott (Drums), Tim Christensen (Bass), and Cierra Lundy (Percussion).

Review: 70, GIRLS, 70 at Lonny Chapman Theatre
Accomplished musical director and pianist 
Carol Weiss in 70, GIRLS, 70

There’s so much delightful music, camaraderie, laugh out loud comedy, and zany silliness in 70, Girls, 70, showcasing these mischievous, fun-loving, lovable and wonderful “old hams.”  But there’s also something deeper and sweeter in there, about the poignancy and necessity of loss, and the beauty of saying yes to life, in all its craziness and all its glory, up to the very end.  If I had to say what this show is all about, I’d say it’s about choosing your own ending — and, of course, always remembering to call your grandmother.

Photos by Doug Engalla

70, GIRLS, 70 runs at Lonny Chapman Theatre on the Main Stage through December 17.  The Lonny Chapman Theatre is located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. North Hollywood 91601.  You can get tickets by calling 818.763.5990 or by clicking the button below: