Center Stage with Pat Launer on KSDS JAZZ88
“Boomers” – Lamb’s Players Theatre @ the Horton Grand Theatre
AIRDATE: AUGUST 8, 2008
Okay, we all know that anyone who wasn’t born between 1946 and 1964 is sick to death of hearing about Baby Boomers. But you’ve gotta admit: we’re a giant-sized group, the largest ever in U.S. history, and the era we lived through was pretty significant, including Civil Rights and the Sexual Revolution, the Vietnam war and political assassinations. And you might have noticed that ‘60s styles are back and the music is still valued and emulated. And those ‘60s bands of 60 year-old seniors are still touring worldwide and raking in huge crowds and big bucks. So, give it a rest, young whippersnappers. There’s a lot you could learn from our generation, about activism and proactivism . Yeah, we know it didn’t all work out so great in the long run. But in the homegrown musical revue, “Boomers,” Lamb’s Players Theatre lets it all hang out, the good times and bad, from bra-burning to menopause; Free Love to Viagra; anti-establishment and anti-war to middle classed, middle aged mediocrity. Including selling out, multiple divorces and the never-ending quest for the Fountain of Youth. They’ve got it covered.
The story of a generation is told in song. Songs that are iconic and unforgettable. In fact, so memorable that, before the show begins, there’s a “Name That Tune” contest, and the band need only play 3 or 4 notes before folks are jumping up, waving their hands, and singing along, trying to be first to snag a “Boomers” hat or T-shirt to take home.
This is an updated version of the musical revue, which originated in 1993, and has been one of Lambs’ most popular perennials. Now it’s on the boards for the long haul, in the new Lamb’s venue, the Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp Quarter. The show has already been extended twice, and is likely to go on well into the fall. There are lots of Boomers out there, of course. But the production is fun for anyone of any age. You just can’t sit still when there’s an evening that includes “Purple Haze,” “Satisfaction,” and “Stairway to Heaven.”
Writer Kerry Meads has added new dialogue, decreased the individual characterizations and pumped up the universal concerns. As the Boomers age, of course, so does the cast, some of whom were in the original production. They’re not quite as limber as they once were, so the choreography’s been adapted to creaking hips and weaker knees, but the energy and enthusiasm remain high, and the singing is outstanding, especially given the terrific arrangements by co-creator Vanda Eggington .
Each of the 7-member cast has a stellar spotlight moment, but the ensemble work is actually the best. So, hate us if you will, but you gotta love our music.
“Boomers” has just been extended again, through September 28, at the Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp Quarter.
©2008 PAT LAUNER