Monday, October 15, 2012

For This Over 60 Crowd, The Beat Goes On

From left: Bobbi Stamm, Carmelita Pittman, Phyllis Lovit, Tammy Reed,
Michele Bernath, and Anna Pagan. Photos by Guy Mack

Fourteen actors between the ages of 60 and 79 sing and dance their hearts out for the sheer love of performing in The Beat Goes On!, Jackie Goldberg’s bright and bouncy song and dance revue that proves you’re as young as you feel so put on your tap shoes and get ready to make the most of it. This is the fourth show that the Pink Lady has produced in four years, and while it may at times remind you of its humble talent show beginnings, with director/choreographer Cate Caplin at the helm it will also surprise you with its polish and precision. Flashy ensemble numbers full of impressive choreography, specialty songs with vaudevillian flair, and an abundance of showmanship keep this deck stacked for fun. 

The story finds the gang rehearsing for a live show that gets cancelled mid-number leaving them disappointed and unsure of what to do next. Rather than give up on their dreams, they rally together to prepare for new auditions. When they hear that a big time Hollywood producer is coming to town, they get ready to strut their stuff for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Who knows what can happen...

Without a song list I'm not sure who to credit for all of the performances but highlights that I particularly enjoyed were an up-tempo ‘30s-flavored “Use What You Got” featuring the men, a smooth Fred & Ginger duet to “You Make Me Feel So Young” with Deborah and William Bartlett, an on-fire brassy version of “Evil Man,” a silly and endearing “Hernando’s Hideaway,” Larry Lederman’s charming “Give Me A Kiss To Build A Dream On” with an unusual dance partner, a moving recreation of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand’s famous duet “Get Happy/ Happy Days Are Here Again,” and a jewel of a tap number featuring Bartlett as a sailor with a clever series of partners.

The arrangements are by musical director, David O. (on keyboards), who creates distinctive personalities with every song - sultry sax licks in a torch song, twinkling flute runs for innocence, the fluttery sound of a player piano, or a boogie-woogie transition and percussion underscoring that fills the room with energy. Mark Breitenbach (bass), Adrienne Geffen (woodwinds) and Kurt Walther (drums), make up rest of the terrific band.

The Beat Goes On! is two parts musical revue and one part motivational shot in the arm - not surprising since Goldberg is also an in-demand speaker who gives seminars on how to lead a fulfilling life as you hit 60 and beyond. Her message to be good to yourself and do what you love shines through every scene. Life is about dreaming big and becoming all you can be, and these entertainers are proof positive that you can still sell a song, do the splits, belt a high note, and dance a romance no matter what your age.



Opening night cast: Deborah Bartlett, William Bartlett, Richard Fox, Michelle Gillette, Larry Lederman, Derrel Maury, Vernon McGhee, Dominick Morra, Anna Pagan, Tamara Reed, Lani Ridley Pedrini, Marcia Rodd, Kit Smythe, Bobbie Stamm, Robert Towers, and Jackie Goldberg.

THE BEAT GOES ON 
Extended through November 25, 2012
Written, directed & choreographed by Cate Caplin
Musical direction and arrangements by David O.
Executive Producer, Jackie Goldberg
Scene Design – Keith Mitchell, Lighting Design – Jared A. Sayeg, Costume Design – Ann Closs-Farley, Sound Design – Cricket Myers
Theatre of Arts - Arena Stage, 1625 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028. Click Here for tickets or call (818) 606-6679.

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Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
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