Now in its seventh smash North Hollywood month, Boomermania has recently moved to the larger, more stageview-friendly NoHo Arts Center, a 99-seater whose state-of-the-art lighting and sound system make the 1950s-‘80s musical comedy review look and sound better than ever. 

Creators Debbie Kasper and Pat Sierchio have streamlined Boomermania by about seven minutes, eliminating the relatively weak Dr. Spock sequence and trimming lines here and there.  Girl trio Alison Friedman, Anne Montavon, and Sarah Weismer now open the show in Andrews Sisters harmonies with a clever takeoff on “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” celebrating the birth of those first Baby Boomers in 1946.  Male contingent Daniel Amerman, Scott Reynolds, and Dylan Vox continue to provide testosterone and charm. 

Friedman, whose understudy’s performance was reviewed the first time round, is simply fabulous throughout, showing off power pipes to reach the rafters.  Montavon continues to combine terrific vocals with expert comedic skills.  Big-voiced Weismer remains a Doris Day/Marilyn Monroe mix of girl-next-doorness and sex appeal.  Amerman’s oodles of adorability could easily make him the next Matthew Broderick, with the added plus of terrific vocal chops.  The marvelous Reynolds seems poised to play either Father Knows Best or a Sweet Transvestite From Transexual, Transylvania.  Vox’s good looks and goofy charm continue to make him a standout in every scene he’s in.  Seven months into its run, Boomermania shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, but then again, neither do the 47-65-year-old Baby Boomers themselves.


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 segued 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.

–Steven Stanley
July 2, 2011

Review updated September 3, 2011

Photos: Tony Garcia Photgraphy

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