My Old Friends
Seven senior citizens rusticate in an old folks home under the supervision of a tyrannical nurse (here, an uncredited offstage voice), until an upstart widower (Tom Ormeny) arrives to stir things up. This musical by Mel Mandel and Norman Sachs is meant to be charming and life-affirming; it certainly has many such moments, but, ultimately, its a rather embarrassing outing. The characters are in their 60s or 70s, and their dialogue and a good many quirky musical numbers show them to be extremely weak-willed and dangerously close to imbecilic. Most disconcerting are several chorus-line-type numbers that erase any sense of dignity. Director Maria Gobetti knows how to bring actors to enjoyable life, which she does throughout the show, but she cant avoid the pitfalls of the tedious script and many talky songs. A few real songs do showcase some extraordinary talent, especially that of Pat Hodges, whose African-American tenant, Mrs. Cooper, belts out the blues. Actress Betsy Randle also gets a chance with an interesting torchy number if you discount some truly corny lyrics. Musical director Scott Harlan keeps the music bouncy, along with keyboardist Serge Bueso, providing the best moments of the show. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 4 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: June 20. Continues through Aug. 10, 2008
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