Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Stage

Show Palace proves it so in ‘Ain’t Retirement Grand’

HUDSON — Playwright-lyricist-composer Gil Perlroth just hit 90 years of age. Supposedly, he retired a couple of decades ago to a 55+ village in Gulfport after many prolific years of writing plays, ads and promotional films in Connecticut.

Instead of lazy days of leisure, however, Perlroth caught his second or third wind and trained his laser eye and wit on his new home base.

He produced a series of plays about the people who populate it, mainly other retirees, particularly the ones who aren’t so retiring.

His works are done with love and respect, but with insights about retirees’ lives, hopes, dreams, fantasies, regrets and challenges that only an insider would understand.

One of his best and most popular is Ain’t Retirement Grand!, a series of vignettes about the joys and demands of being in the post-employment set. It’s played all over the Tampa Bay area and the rest of the U.S., and it’s running through July 8 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.

It’s the second of a string of light-hearted musicals and plays at the Show Palace that started in April with the wildly successful Menopause the Musical, and continue through the summer with Honky Tonk Laundry and My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy!, as well as several one-night specials and tribute acts.

"We found out this time last year that his is what people want," said Pete Clapsis, who directed and appears in Retirement and co-starred in Assisted Living, the Musical, the show that played in this time slot a year ago. That one sold out nearly every performance once word got out that it was the opposite of what its title suggested, in other words, knee-slapping funny.

Ain’t Retirement Grand! is indeed grand, thanks to its cast — Ellie Pattison (Miss Adelaide in Guys & Dolls), Heather Krueger (Fastrada in Pippin), Tom Bengston (Governor in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and Clapsis (Doc in West Side Story and writer of the parody Santa Got Run Over By a Grandma). These cast members work together like a well-oiled clock, and their duets and solos are just as accomplished.

Retirement is mostly hilarious takes on retirementhood: how to tell when your HMO is a dud; when your son’s new wife is a calamity; the pluses and minuses of sex after 60; the very first thing you do after you retire (I’m not telling. You have to see the show to find out); Florida’s senior drivers (I think we’ve become a national joke); how annoying a newly-retired husband can be to a stay-at-home wife; the popularity of a single, unattached male in a retirement village full of widows and divorcees; and the fiasco of writing a will late in life.

Among my favorites: "You know you’re a senior when everything in your body either dries up or leaks."

Then there are couple of serious moments that let Krueger show her singing chops, including her powerful Broadway belt, as she ruminates on finding love as a widow or discovering that wrinkles aren’t so bad after all. These two songs are so revealing they may bring tears, but worry not, they don’t slow the show down. Laughs return within moments.

Kudos to Todd Everest for a set design that allows for smooth entrances and exits, and quick costume changes; music director Matty Colonna for hitting song cues right on the button; sound and light designer Michael Sessa for unobtrusive, but effective sounds and lights; stage manager Jill Godfrey for keeping the pace; and the uncredited choreographer who provided nice movements throughout the show.

Perlroth has written many plays and musicals with local (and national) appeal. Some are better than others, but area audiences have a chance to see one of his best at the Show Palace. They would be advised not to miss it.

Comments
Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

GIBSONTON – A new north-south road is coming to relieve traffic along U.S. 301, but making way for it promises some short-term traffic headaches for a South Shore region already stymied by congestion.The new road would run more than four miles...
Published: 10/16/18
‘Edgar & Emily’ imagines literary legends sharing verses and souls

‘Edgar & Emily’ imagines literary legends sharing verses and souls

TAMPA — Pale candlelight and a comforter on the king-sized bed set a ghostly mood for Edgar & Emily, which Jobsite Theater has scheduled to run beyond Halloween. David Jenkins directs Joseph McDonough’s comedy, which premiered six months ago in south...
Published: 10/15/18
Where to find Tampa Bay Halloween parties, pumpkin patches and events

Where to find Tampa Bay Halloween parties, pumpkin patches and events

Experience everything from kid-friendly events to horrifying haunted houses to spooky art projects this weekend in Tampa Bay.
Published: 10/11/18
Ernest Hooper: Tampa Bay Food Fight brings chefs, foodies together for good cause

Ernest Hooper: Tampa Bay Food Fight brings chefs, foodies together for good cause

The participants will fight for bragging rights, and the chance to help aspiring culinary artists.
Published: 10/10/18
What’s on stage this week: 'The Play That Goes Wrong,' Florida Orchestra does Harry Potter

What’s on stage this week: 'The Play That Goes Wrong,' Florida Orchestra does Harry Potter

In one play, everything goes wrong on purpose. Plus, the Florida Orchestra tackles Harry Potter, and Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson meet, defying the odds.
Published: 10/10/18
Zev Buffman retires as Ruth Eckerd Hall president and CEO

Zev Buffman retires as Ruth Eckerd Hall president and CEO

After seven years as the CEO and president of Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Zev Buffman has announced his retirement. The veteran theater impresario, who turns 88 next week, made the announcement on Thursday, but said he and his wife had reached t...
Published: 10/04/18
Updated: 10/05/18
This week on stage: American Stage’s ‘Between Riverside and Crazy,’ lots of comedy

This week on stage: American Stage’s ‘Between Riverside and Crazy,’ lots of comedy

AMERICAN STAGE: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZYWalter "Pops" Johnson, a retired New York City police officer, has his hands full in Between Riverside and Crazy, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ 2015 Pulitzer-winning play. American Stage opens the season with L. Pet...
Published: 10/03/18
Seventy years after war crimes trials, ‘Judgment at Nuremberg’ still asks a timely question

Seventy years after war crimes trials, ‘Judgment at Nuremberg’ still asks a timely question

TAMPA — A simple set tells the story. A table for three judges assigned to rule on war crimes following World War II rests on stacks of suitcases, signifying hasty travel. On the floor, by a gallery of defendants, snakes a trail of discarded shoes. W...
Updated one month ago
Florida Orchestra opens season with a powerful Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

Florida Orchestra opens season with a powerful Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

TAMPA — The Florida Orchestra season got off to a strong start Friday with Ludwig van Beethoven’s most famous work, the broodingly triumphant Symphony No. 5. Music director Michael Francis also conducted Sergei Rachmaninoff’s breakout Piano Concerto ...
Updated one month ago
Florida Orchestra extends contract of music director Michael Francis an additional three years

Florida Orchestra extends contract of music director Michael Francis an additional three years

ST. PETERSBURG — With the Florida Orchestra on stage behind him, Michael Francis was deep into a lecture Thursday about Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 when an alert went off on someone’s phone.The music director paused."An Amber Alert," he mused. "Is it ...
Updated one month ago