This review of “Happy 50ish" at The Beckett Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
Starring Lynn Shore & Mark Vogel
Book, Music & Lyrics by Lynn Shore, Mark Vogel & David Burnham
Direction & Choreography by Paul Stancato
Scenic & Lighting Design by Christopher Ash
Sound Design by David Crawford
The Beckett Theatre
410 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Reviewed 7/26/15 at 6:00 p.m.
If you are 50ish or older, or know someone who is, you are going to appreciate this upbeat, hilarious, audience participation musical that will make you laugh and cry at the tragic reality of getting old. Happy 50ish is a surprise 50th birthday party for Bob being hosted by Mike, his best friend. The audience members are all invited guests at this party. So you get to yell "surprise" when Bob arrives, sing along now and then, and are encouraged to take pictures to post on social media. Bob's wife Pam is delayed because the bakery spelled Bob's name with two o's on the cake but as Master of Ceremonies, Mike gets the party rolling. He asks Bob to start reading a pile of birthday cards, the first being from AARP and another being from his proctologist, with whom he recently underwent a colonoscopy. That card thanked Bob for letting him "go where no man has gone before." Each of the birthday cards acted as a cue to singing a song about that particular topic. Other topics included having an enlarged prostate making it difficult to pee and suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Bob isn't thrilled about growing old and he is absolutely terrified at the thought of becoming a grandfather. On the other hand, he confesses that at 50, things are finally starting "to click" for him, like his knees, elbows, neck and chin. He also laments that the hair that was coming out of his head is now coming out of his ears. Mike and Bob have a wonderful rapport. They have been best friends for life and know everything about each other. They reminisce about when they were young and you got to choose any one of thirteen different television channels! Mike encourages Bob to tell the audience about when he was 15 years old and saw his first naked lady. Mike says to Bob, "What did you say?" and he responds, "Sorry Grandma!". Another story was about when Bob ran into Suzie, one of the hottest girls he knew in High School. He asked Suzie, "Weren't you in my class at Jefferson High?" and she responded, "I don't know. What class did you teach?" Happy 50ish is educational as well as being true-to-life. We learn from Bob that "menopause" is mentioned in the Holy Bible. To prove it, he reads the passage, "Mary rode Joseph's ass all the way to Egypt."
Happy 50ish features a remarkably attractive and well-lit set. The sound system is top notch and The Beckett Theatre is beautiful. Every seat in the house is a good seat! Mark Vogel as Mike and Lynn Shore as Bob are wonderful actors and singers with great synergy. All the musical numbers are very enjoyable and you will want to purchase the CD to listen to the songs over and over again. This musical runs for 90 minutes without an intermission but the time flies by and I guarantee you will leave the show in a good mood. Bob and Mike leave you with the following statement to ponder, "You don't stop laughing because you get old. You get old when you stop laughing!"
I highly recommend you see Happy 50ish and that you bring your friends. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.happy50ishmusical.com/