Last month, the sounds of Jerry Adler's harmonica filled the air at the Brookridge retirement village's clubhouse. The room was crammed to capacity. Spectators cheered. His concert was one in a series of monthly shows sponsored by Brookridge for residents of the private, gated community.
That will change Saturday when Brookridge opens its shows to the public.
Saturday's show is entitled "A Night at the Copa" and features a variety of entertainment. The 42nd Street Dixieland Band will pay tribute to the Dukes of Dixieland with jazz music. Eddie Garson, the international comedy ventriloquist, will entertain the crowd with his pal, Chico Chico, and Peter Palmer will serenade the audience with some of his songs.
Palmer has appeared in many television films and shows, including Simon & Simon, ER and The Rockford Files. He also has recorded several albums and appeared in numerous stage productions. He now is starring as Daddy Warbucks in the off-Broadway production of Annie.
"In Brookridge, we have been doing entertainment since 1992. We have constantly upgraded the quality of entertainment; the bottom line is that costs more money," said Al Hofmann, who co-chairs Brookridge's entertainment with his wife, Bonnie.
"Last week, the board of directors said it was okay to open all entertainment to the public in order to keep costs down and maintain the currently excellent quality of entertainment we provide," Hofmann said.
Reaching that level wasn't easy. Before starting the first full season in October 1992, organizers struggled with the size of the stage and experimented with different kinds of sound systems, Hofmann said.
"The problems we had in the beginning with the sound system was the quality of sound," Hofmann said. "The people in the front were knocked off their seats, and the people in the back couldn't hear anything. But the sound system we have now is excellent. It is second to none."
The Hofmanns are working with an agency to book acts for 1998 and 1999.
Because there are so many acts to choose from, the Hofmanns have no problems choosing entertainers who are geared to their audience.
"Revue type shows seem to be very popular," Hofmann said.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the public to buy tickets. The show is at the Brookridgeclubhouse. Guests should follow signs for the clubhouse once they drive past the main gate. The two-hour show starts at 7 p.m. Coffee and doughnuts will be served afterward.
"There are no bad seats in the clubhouse," Hofmann said. "In fact, all of the acts we've booked have really liked our hall." The clubhouse accommodates 700 guests.