Steven Stanley’s StageSceneLA is changing, with exciting new features and an all new look by debuting August 12.

In the meantime, thank you for visiting this temporary site, on which you will find reviews of all currently running productions, as well as some which have closed recently.

Visit the new StageSceneLA starting August 12 and the first thing you’ll find will be all the latest reviews and interviews, beginning with the most recent.

All reviews will now be “tagged,” allowing StageSceneLA readers to make a quick list of each and every “Now Playing” production as well as those tagged with a “WOW!.” You will also be able to find reviews by “genre,” “location,” and other tags. Interviews will be tagged as well, allowing for quick accessing of all StageSceneLA interviews.

A brand new search function will allow readers to find any play or musical by name, as well as any reviews in which a particular actor performed, which a particular director directed, or which a particular designer designed, etc.

The new StageSceneLA will continue to feature complete lists of all StageSceneLA Award winners over the past six years—with our 2010-12 Awards to be announced mid-September. StageSceneLA will no longer feature listings of upcoming and unreviewed productions, the better to concentrate on its forte: Spotlighting The Best In Southern California Theater in its reviews and interviews.

Review archives will be restored gradually—hopefully by the end of September 2011. In the meantime, please feel free to send an email request for a PDF file of any previous StageSceneLA review to

Thanks as always for visiting Steven Stanley’s StageSceneLA: Spotlighting The Best In Southern California Theater. And thanks especially for your patience during this exciting period of transition.

Search This Blog

Saturday, July 16, 2011



Every so often a show arrives unheralded on the Los Angeles theater scene and stays and stays and stays. Boomermania is just such a show. Opening last February at North Hollywood’s El Portal Forum Theatre for an already ambitious eight-week run, it’s now five months later and Boomermania mania shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

Boomermania writer-directors Debbie Kasper and Pat Sierchio have conceived their musical tour through the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s as a series of song parodies, skits, and film clips—a veritable cornucopia of memories for audience members born between 1946 and 1964, and a history and culture lesson for anyone younger than that.

The writers make no pretense of sophistication or subtlety. After all, there are Noël Coward and Cole Porter revues for that. What they do offer is unadulterated fun, and plenty of it.

Other revues (Too Old For The Chorus comes to mind) feature Boomer-aged performers out to prove that you’re only as old as you feel and act. Kasper and Sierchio’s have hired 20something triple-threats, thereby broadening the show’s appeal and providing terrific talent showcases for their young cast of six.

Boomermania opens with a visit to the year 2525 (Boomers will remember this 1969 Zager & Evans hit), where a cute-as-a-button high schooler dressed in silver spandex (exactly as 1950s child would have envisioned his future counterpart) is giving a show-and-tell presentation on the 20th Century ancients known as the Boomers. He shows off 1950s paraphernalia like coonskin caps and Mickey Mouse ears; 45-rpm records, which he first thought were a strange sort of earwear; and a great big purple glass bong, which he assumes is some kind of musical instrument, then goes on to read from a mysterious text whose meaning he can’t decipher: “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”

Soon we are seguewayed back in time to Romper Boom, where pre-adolescent Boomer brats celebrate the joys of sugar-frosted cereals to the tune of “I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” retitled “Sugar Pops Cap’n Cruch.” Other ‘50s highlights include a live recreation of TV’s To Tell The Truth, with two identically dressed contestants both claiming to be famed baby doctor Dr. Spock, and a pointy-eared guest introducing himself as a Spock of a different race. PBS-capade has a Masterpiece Theatre-like host reading from Dick And Jane as if it were Shakespeare. “See Dick. See Jane. See Spot. See Dick see Jane see Spot see Dick,” he intones, with an emphasis on Dick. Slogan’s Heroes provides a lickety-split journey through dozens upon dozens of TV commercial catch phrases: “Us Tareyton Smokers Would Rather Fight Than Switch.” “LSMFT. Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.” “Winston Tastes Good Like A Cigarette Should.” And speaking of cigarettes, there’s a hilariously cringe-inducing honest-to-goodness black-and-white Winston commercial featuring Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble puffing away as Wilma and Betty do their chores and yard work. There’s an equally authentic government-produced film cheerily warning 1950s school children of the likelihood of an atomic bomb attack, the best remedy for which was simply to “Duck And Cover” the second they saw a blinding flash in the sky.

Song spoofs include a sing-along “We Are The Boomers,” set to the tune of “We Are The World,” “They’ll Phone You,” to the tune of “Everybody Must Get Stoned,” and “The TV’s On,” to the tune of “The Beat Goes On.”

The ‘60s bring about Flower Hour (and bra burning) as the Boomers become the Peace-And-Love Generation. Signs Of The Times has the cast saluting ‘60s protest movements. The Jetsons Are Coming! has them imagining how their lives would be in the not so distant future. ‘70s segments give us our Boomers at their 10 Year High School Reunion with plenty of dreams yet unfulfilled, then hitting thirty and higher (and getting high in the process) as they Do The Hustle in their discotheque-ready polyester. The ‘80s feature still more spoofs and the biggest hair yet.

Things do get serious for Dark Side Of The Boom, a photo montage of the more turbulent side of the 1960s—Vietnam War protests, slain university students, and assassinated leaders—and it is a powerful moment of reflection. Mostly, though, Boomermania is about having fun, and as much fun is had by those onstage as in the audience.

A sextet of very talented young performers, most of them new to Los Angeles theater and some even to Los Angeles, bring Boomermania to effervescent life. Daniel Amerman, understudy Heather Gonzalez, Anne Montavon, Scott Reynolds, Dylan Vox, and Sarah Weismer each display oodles of charm, terrific singing, snappy footwork, and seemingly inexhaustible energy as they move from scene to scene, song to song, costume to costume, and wig to wig scarcely breaking a sweat.

Choreographer Edward Carignan has created a number of nostalgic, high-energy dance sequences. Musical director/orchestrator/vocal arranger Mary Ekler gets the cast belting and harmonizing to perfection. Among Boomermania’s design elements, Erica D. Schwartz’s costumes score high, both for imagination and for sheer number, aided in great measure by Katy Harvey’s wigs. David S. Goldstein’s scenic and lighting designs score high marks as well, as does Sean Kilian’s sound design, which provides an excellent mix of amplified voices and prerecorded instrumental tracks. Dan J Foegelle’ and Pat Sierchio’s multi-media design makes for a seemingly inexhaustible montage of photos and films sure to spark memory after memory in audience members forty-seven and older. Understudy Gonzales is stage manager, her duties assumed at the performance reviewed by Ryan Mercado.

With 76 million Boomers born between the years 1946 and 1964, the majority of whom are alive and well and looking for weekend entertainment, Boomermania’s positive reviews and even stronger word-of-mouth could well keep seats filled for months to come. And the younger set is encouraged to join in and find out what all the fun is about. It took me a while to get around to seeing Boomermania, and now that I’ve seen it, I can’t help wishing it hadn’t taken me so long.

El Portal Forum Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.

NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Through September 25. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00. Saturdays at 2:00. Sundays at 3:00.
--Steven Stanley
July 2, 2011
Photos: Tony Garcia Photgraphy