Theater Review: ‘Mid-Life! The Crisis’ singing at The Pines
If you are tired of worrying about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, The Pines Dinner Theatre is presenting a comic diversion through Oct. 25 that is guaranteed to remind you of what else there is to worry about.
It is “Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical,” and for two hours it lampoons our more mundane concerns about middle age and growing old, from thinning hair and reading glasses, to mammograms and prostrate exams.
With book, music and lyrics by brothers Bob and Jim Walton, there are touching moments along with the hilarity, and something everyone can relate to.
During the Sept. 12 performance seen for this review, the cast of three men and three women kept up the barrage of non-stop singing and rapid-fire lyrics while barely missing a cue.
Memorable moments include Daniel Petrovich’s wacky reading of the side effects for the pills he’s just been given, The Menopause Choir and translator scene with Syd Stauffer, and the AARP song featuring the entire cast.
Pines’ regular Stacey Yoder provides a poignant respite from the craziness when she sings “When He Laughs,” about her husband as the boy she loved years ago.
Jennifer Wills, a repeat performer at the Pines, is enticing with her high-energy gestures and facial expressions. She is always animated without overdoing it.
Rounding out the cast are the last of the “Weekend Warriors” at the gym played by Zach Petrovich and Kristofer Wills.
The musical is directed by Oliver Blatt, whose innovative use of an on-stage turntable facilitates smooth scene changes. Blatt and his tech crew built the three-level turntable from the bottom up. It rests on 35 casters that had to be screwed onto the stage floor upside down in precisely the right locations to keep it balanced for the actors on it.
The set’s giant eye charts on each side of the turntable remind us that failing eyesight is one among many inevitabilities of growing old.
Music Director Stacy Bechtel created the score for the 23 songs by playing, recording and laying down the tracks for each of the rhythm section’s instruments: piano, bass and drums. The process plays out so effortlessly that the audience is hardly aware of the complexities of matching the prerecorded music to the performers’ timing, intensity and vocal pitches.
First produced in 2007, “Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical,” has been around long before the pandemic, but it ends on the hopeful notes that there are some situations we can still control.
Tickets: Pines Dinner Theatre box office, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown; pinesdinnertheatre.com; 610-433-2333