Pat Launer, Center Stage on KSDS JAZZ88
November 7, 2014
It’s the soundscape of our lives. Well, it is if you were born between 1946 and 1964. That makes you a Baby Boomer, and Lamb’s Players’ cash-cow perennial, “Boomers,” will make you want to jump up and sing. Focused on the Jell-O generation, it’s for anyone who loves the timeless tunes of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
The revue, which covers a vast amount of territory, first opened over 20 years ago, and it’s returned again and again. I’d heard there were some updates on the Boomers’ journey from Flower Children to mainstream shoppers. Or, as one character puts it, “We started out consumed with passion. Now we’re passionate consumers.” Seventy-six million strong, from hippies to Yuppies and beyond.
The updates concern life after 60. “I think, therefore, I’m single,” says one high-power professional woman. Another has had three divorces, and her adult offspring are still living at home.
So, the Peace-Love generation didn’t turn quite out as tranquil as expected. But they sure had a helluva time along the way.
The set-up has the audience as students; the snarky, sarcastic professor, a Boomer himself, delivers the history, starting with Bob Seger’s “Old-Time Rock and Roll” and ending with 3 Dog Night’s upbeat “Joy to the World.”
In between, co-creators Kerry Meads and Vanda Eggington interlace tons of tunes, including the theme songs of early TV shows, which both shaped and reflected who we were.
Wonderful medleys of anti-war songs, civil rights songs, the war on poverty and the war between the sexes. Dating and breaking up – which, as we all know, is hard to do. The joys and turbulence of the times are shown in projections.
There isn’t enough choreography, and there’s no gay story. But the band is fantastic and the voices are great, showing how we tuned in, we turned on, we dropped out, we got back into the mainstream. It’s a sometimes melancholy but mostly joyful story. We might forget we were there, but we never forget the music.
“Boomers” has been extended again, through November 23, at the Horton Grand Theatre, downtown.
©2014 PAT LAUNER