The ManOPause Boys

August 10, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The 1990s called. They want their clichés back. The ones about Viagra and the other aspects of male late-middle aging. Plus, the decade would like to retire at least some of its hopeful sayings, such as “50 is the new 35.” Well, the clichés and sayings abounded on the Triad stage the other night, in the revue The ManOPause Boys. Four men claiming to be in their fifties sang, yes sang, about erectile dysfunction, elimination disruption, and other physical and mental deteriorations that have resulted from their rapidly advancing years.

To their credit, the cohesive quartet of boys-no-longer treated this material with enthusiasm, as if it were all fresh and new. Except it wasn’t. The show was ninety minutes of similar-sounding songs—you know you’re in trouble when they feel compelled to announce “the ballad”—with titles (or thematic lines) such as “My Prostate Is the Size of a Buick,” “I’m Having a Brain Fart,” “His Get Up and Go Is Gone,” and “My God, I Am My Father.” The music was composed by Wayland Pickard, and the book and lyrics were by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. The worst part of the score was a seemingly endless, and needlessly reprised, string of samples of melodies from familiar Broadway musicals with “new” lyrics, starting with “I Just Took a Pill Called Viagra” to the tune of “[I Just Met a Girl Named] Maria” (Leonard Bernstein). The medley proceeded downhill from there, pilfering samples from about a dozen more recognizable show tunes, to reach its nadir in “Do You Hear the Penis Sing?” (Claude-Michel Schönberg). I’m not making this up.

Van Zandt was in the admittedly committed cast, along with Jeff Babey, Tom Frascatore, and Glenn Jones. Oddly, no director was credited, but there was a choreographer, Michele Mossay, who would appear to have had relatively little to do, given the small Triad stage. Musical direction was by Beth Moore, but the pre-recorded instrumental soundtrack seemed to create even further distance between the material and its audience.

There was one outstanding number in the show, however, nicely performed by Babey, channeling his inner Donald O’Connor: “I’m Just a Song and Dance Man from Another Age.” This song seemed to have been lifted from another show, as it had nothing to do with aging, apart from Babey’s faux falling down in exhaustion after finishing the song. To be fair, and to end my review on another positive note, many members of the full audience seemed to have enjoyed themselves almost as much as the cast on stage. But the most appreciative sounds came from young women in the audience, the one group that likely didn’t have any direct connection to the show’s premise and, therefore, may not have heard it all before.

The Triad – August 2

Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Robert Windeler is the author of 17 books, including biographies of Mary Pickford, Julie Andrews, Shirley Temple, and Burt Lancaster. As a West Coast correspondent for The New York Times and Time magazine, he covered movies, television and music, and he was an arts and entertainment critic for National Public Radio. He has contributed to a variety of other publications, including TV Guide, Architectural Digest, The Sondheim Review, and People, for which he wrote 35 cover stories. He is a graduate of Duke University in English literature and holds a masters in journalism from Columbia, where he studied critical writing with Judith Crist. He has been a theatre critic for Back Stage since 1999, writes reviews for BistroAwards.com, and is a member of The Players and the American Theatre Critics Association.

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