MID-LIFE 2!: Tuneless, Witless, Lifeless

Shelve This Bare Offering At Actor’s Playhouse

Roger Martin, ATCA


You might suspect something is not quite right with a show when the opening remarks from the Artistic Director contain the words: World Premiere, Sequel, Development Version and Corrected Script Going Back to the Writers. And you’d be oh so right.

Actors’ Playhouse, according to the press release, ran the “...hilarious MID-LIFE! The Crises Musical that performed to critical the summer of 2008...”. I take their word for it, because it’s a show I missed. But I did see the, ahem, World Premiere of the sequel MID-LIFE 2! (The Crisis Continues) and what can I say? Development Version? Oh yes, but what’s to be developed?

Six middle aged, good, veteran actors (they were in the original 2008 show) do their best to bring to life a musical revue in which the paucity of ideas is exceeded only by the obviousness of the whole affair.

It’s pretty much a bare offering upstairs in Actors’ Playhouse. A large magnifying glass hangs upstage. Sketch and song titles are flashed thereon, out of focus at first and then readable. A platform with appropriate furniture rolls on and off for the various skits.

I’m not trying to be mean here, but remember that time you were stuck in the out of season seaside resort, cold rain beating on the drafty windows, no electricity nor logs for a fire, no books and your car had a flat battery? And of course you were alone. Well, that’s the wish-I-were-there memory that popped into my head during MID-LIFE.

So what’s so amiss here? Perhaps some of the song and sketch titles throw a little light: Forty is the New Thirty, A Trip to the Dermatologist, Stop and Smell the Roses, Doing the Panic Attack, Where’d I Put My Glasses, A Trip to the Drugstore (a classy number about a mother buying condoms for her high school daughter), Yet Another Trip to the Doctor (four hour erections), et boring cetera.

But hey, it’s a musical, and these actors can really sing and David Nagy can really play the piano so what could possibly go wrong? Well, nothing really, if only the writers had written something interesting, non-derivative and with even the snatch of a melody. Choreography? Nah.

Brothers Jim and Bob Walton wrote the book, music and lyrics and David Arisco directed and staged. Gene Seyfer designed the set, Ellis Tillman the costumes, Luke Klingberg the lighting and Mitch Furman the sound.

Here’s the cast, and remember, it’s not their fault: Allen Baker, Maribeth Graham, Margot Moreland, Lourelene Snedeker, Wayne Steadman and Barry J. Tarallo.

MID-LIFE 2! (The Crisis Continues) plays through August 17 at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theater, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293

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