In the current ever-changing and troubling times we live in today, there was no question that a new revue would come along to shed some insight and opinion or at least to bring light to some of the cray cray goings on. Well, it’s here, it’s very on point and it’s called thirtywhatever! This new musical revue, conceived and directed by Eric Michael Gillett, has come to the Laurie Beechman stage. With music and lyrics by Patrick Dwyer, the songs run the gamut of life and what it’s like to be in the prime of that life, your thirties, when as individuals, much of what we’ve been taught and dreamed of, actually coalesces as we settle down to become “mature” members of society. If you are thirty-something, see this show and bond with all those in your generation. You’ll enjoy and even learn something about yourself, as well. If you happen not to be in that age range, don’t let the title of the show mislead you into thinking that there’s not something in it for you. Those of us who are past our thirties will find that it helps us make more sense of what the next generation has had to contend with. Especially disturbing to me, was the clear general disconnect with each other as “people” that the internet has brought. For those under thirty, it’s an enlightening expose on what to expect as life’s responsibilities replace the sowing-your-wild-oats phase of life.
The casting of the show is top notch, with solid solos as well as rehearsed and finely directed group numbers, rounding out the score of twenty-something songs. Musical Director Alvin Hough, Jr, with bassist Owen Yost, deftly delivers the musical accompaniment. Some of the standout numbers are “When You’re Good at a Job You Hate,” delivered with verve and finally resignation by Christopher S. Redding. It speaks about the angst of being trapped in place by the current lack of mobility that today’s economic conditions put many of us in. Sound familiar, starving artists? “Eat That Child,” sung by Erin Wegner Brooks, brings the question of motherhood to the Shakespearean “to be, or not to be,” to a head. Correy West’s song “Sometimes,” about dealing with a father who doesn’t communicate well or understand and who we find out through the lyric has died, is heart-wrenching. “Subway Crush,” which is choreographed with cell phones in hand to emphasize the disconnect, is both funny yet a sad. James Seol is a standout with his delivery of the song “The Rules.” Booth Daniels deftly delivers comic relief with “My Neighbor’s Internet” and also gets to do some heavy lifting with “When It Happens to You,” a song about facing a life-threatening health issue which just gets sprung on you. “Next Year’s New Year’s Eve” gives hope to better times ahead and is reprised by the full company at the end. Rounding out the ensemble are Kathleen Stuart, Megan Dorn and Charles Stevens. Additional sketch material is by Barry Kleinbort, with additional staging by Arthur L. Ross.
thirtywhatever is being Produced by Singers Forum and EMGCollective with Associate Producer Kathryn Fray and finishes it’s run at Laurie Beechman tonight Monday, February 20th at 7pm.