Talent is ageless in The Beat Goes On, Jackie “Pink Lady” Goldberg’s latest senior-citizen song-and-dance showcase designed to entertain audiences from eighteen to eighty (and beyond) .

 Written, directed, and choreographed with imagination and flair by the Ovation-winning Cate Caplin, The Beat Goes On features a cast of fifteen triple-threats between the ages of sixty and seventy-nine who prove that you’re only as old as you feel and as young as you dance.

 To say that The Beat Goes On has even a wisp of a plot would be overstating the case, since whatever storyline there is (the financial plug has been pulled from the show these Broadway Babies were to appear with, so they audition for another show, and when that falls through, decide to follow Judy’s and Mickey’s example and put on a show of their own) is less than wispy.

No matter. It serves to introduce three dozen or so song-and-dance numbers, mostly standards with a few originals thrown in, that the still sprightly cast perform with infectious joie de vivre and considerable pizzazz.

At the performance reviewed, Deborah Bartlett, William Bartlett, Michele Bernath, Richard Fox, Michelle Gillette, Barbara Haber, Larry Lederman, Derrel Maury, Vernon McGhee, Dominick Morra, Anna Pagan, Marcia Rodd, Kit Smythe, Bobbi Stamm, and Robert Towers sang and danced to enthusiastic audience applause, their strengths easily outweighing a wobbly voice here or a less-than-precision step there. And what a joy it must be for these stage and screen vets to be granted this forum for their still vital talents, a joy that proves infectious to audience members younger and older alike.

It helps that the troupe of troupers is backed up by musical director extraordinaire David O (who also provided the arrangements) and his onstage band of relative whippersnappers.

 It helps too that costume design genius Ann Closs-Farley has given each performer a dozen or so different spangled gowns and assorted dazzling finery to wear, all of which are lit to vivid, Technicolor perfection by Jared A. Sayeg. Keith Mitchell’s versatile set design is appropriately glitzy (with special snaps for the fire-engine-red velveteen curtain). Sound designer Cricket S. Myers mixes vocals and instrumentals to perfection.

Gabrieal Griego is production manager and Diane Le Moine production stage manager. An additional nine performers alternate with those mentioned in this review.

 It’s not every day (or indeed every week, month, or year) that you see this many decades of show biz experience joining forces on a single stage. Though the playbill features full-page ads for senior living facilities, senior services, and not one but two “memorial parks,” it’s clear that none of the sixty-plussers on Hollywood’s Arena Stage (including effervescent 80-year-old “Pink Lady” Goldberg) are planning to throw in the towel any time soon. To paraphrase one of the show’s many Broadway and movie hits, these still energetic, vital performers have got a lot of livin’ to do.

Theatre of Arts Arena Stage, 1625 N. Las Palmas, Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
October 26, 2012
Photos: Bobbi Stamm

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