On the Stage: Off Broadway Palm production makes a mid-life crisis fun

Who knew crisis could be fun, especially of the mid–life variety? That is definitely the case with the latest production in the Off Broadway Palm Theatre, MID-LIFE! The Crisis Musical. This is the second offering of the season for The Broadway Palm’s more intimate second space. This musical comedy dealing with the mania and malaise of life in middle age plays through March 31 in Ft. Myers.

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MID-LIFE explores all the issues that rear their ugly heads in that titular stage of life. In a series of comic and touching vignettes and musical numbers the cast of three men, Seth Abrahms, Craig Davis and Andy Kopec and three women, Francesca Amari, Jennie Hollander-Carosiello and Patti McClure tackle the physical, mental and social concerns of the middle age set.

This production covers a wide variety of topics and situations. In the first act biological clocks, mammograms, male pattern baldness and empty nest are highlighted, just to name a few. In act two divorcees, prostate exams and the many faces of menopause are put under the microscope. With humor and song MID-LIFE lampoons these many common side effects of getting older.

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The creators of this musical are Bob and Jim Walton. This talented pair of brothers wrote the book, music and lyrics of the show together. They also served as co-directors and co-choreographers of the piece. Each of the brothers has extensive performance credits to their names. They have also written other works together for the theatre and cabaret stage as well.

As authors and composers the style in which they have crafted this production is reminiscent of other topically focused musicals like I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change and Menopause: The Musical. The music is fun and peppered with witty lyrics that tell each story well. The scenes and scenarios created all punctuate the material and create a nicely molded flow of ideas all relating the topic. Especially funny were the doctors office segments, the divorcees dishing on their ex-spouses at their reunion and the mid-life translator.

Their work as directors and choreographers was also very successful. The show is fast paced and filled with finely tuned performances resulting in an extremely enjoyable show. The staging and choreography make excellent use of the space and work well for the piece.

The cast of MID-LIFE, Seth Abrahms, Craig Davis, Andy Kopec, Francesca Amari, Jennie Hollander-Carosiello and Patti McClure have formed a very talented ensemble. They are seasoned performers all with great comic skills and strong voices that compliment each other well. Every solo, paring or group brought their all to the material resulting in standout performances from all.

The work of the production team for MID-LIFE was perfectly suited to the show. The set, designed by Kristian Perry, was elegant and effective with decorative entryways and playing spaces that could assume different locales without much effort. The lighting design, by Russell Thompson also heightened many moments in the show. The use of a projection turned the ordinary eye chart into a fun and surprising element that tied the production together.

For those who are ready to experience MID-LIFE! The Crisis Musical, the production is playing through March 31. For information or to purchase tickets The Broadway Palm can be reached at 278-4422 or you can log onto their website at www.broadwaypalm.com.

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Jamie Carmichael is the education director at the Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Myers. He has a great deal of theater experience as an actor, director, administrator and an enthusiastic audience member. He can be contacted by e-mail at eddirector@floridarep.org.

© 2007 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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