The title of the new musical comedy revue, now playing at the Whitefire Theatre, in Sherman Oaks, says it all: "Don't Leave it all to your Children!" The title reveals the theme of the show: comedic, tongue-in-cheek, which it most certainly is. Saul Ilson, writer and director, has been successful, on Broadway, and off; during his long time career, he has been nominated for five Emmys and is the recipient of a Writer's Guild Award for comedy. This show actually played in New York for six months off- Broadway, and this production is a revised version of that show, replete with Catskills/Vaudeville shtick, and an amazingly talented ensemble, featuring Barbara Minkus; Kit Smythe; John Shull; and Saul Ilson. It's a throwback to the Catskills On Broadway, with witty one-liners, borscht belt humor, ala Mal Z. Lawrence, Freddy Roman, and Jackie Mason, along with delightful song and dance numbers, all relating to the subject matter of aging with grace, class, and dignity.
Two couples ponder the vaguaries of old age, "the golden years," as it were, and all the problems and pleasure inherent, such as the joy of grandchildren; the wonder of retirement; and life in general. The creative musical numbers are quite profound, yet presented with such levity. The actors are like old troopers from the wonderful Yiddish Theatre of Second Avenue, with innocent humor, including quips, such as "safe sex meant your parents weren't home..." and "coke was something you drank, and heroin was a female hero." At one point in the show, one actor stated unequivocally, "age is not a factor anymore..."
The spry cast of characters still have their wits and grace about them, clearly revealing that age is merely a number, and they can trump the odds and be happy. The dancing, shtick, and heartfelt humor was apparent onstage, as in one sequence, the two 'showbiz broads' belt their hearts out, singing, "We do it because we love it," a true standout performance, of how passionate they are for their craft.
Interspersed throughout the show are cleverly conceived phone calls, with one liner jokes and puns abundant. All of the actors showcased have extensive credits; all very amusing, and wonderfully expressive. It was a packed house, mostly of the geriatric set, who could truly resonate and enjoy the onstage antics, comraderie, and in jokes of their generation.
This is a top notch show, to be expected of the Whitefire, producing consistently brilliant material.
Whitefire Theatre 13500 Ventura Blvd. Sundays at 2PM
818 207-4753 firstname.lastname@example.org
Through May 25th