Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Midlife! - The Crisis Musical

Also see John's review of Björn Again - The ABBA Experience

Margot Moreland, Wayne Steadman, Allan Baker, Maribeth Graham, Barry J. Tarallo and Lourelene Snedeker
The Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre presents Midlife - The Crisis Musical. The musical features a book, music and lyrics by Bob and Jim Walton. This team of brothers first wrote and performed in My Brother's Keeper. That show, which was originally a Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS benefit, went on to receive the 1997 Bistro Award for Best Musical. They then wrote and starred in a two-actor musical entitled Double Trouble which was performed at Goodspeed at Chester. Their most recent collaboration, Midlife! The Crisis Musical, had it's world premiere in 2006 at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Minnesota.

Midlife! is a new musical revue that celebrates the midlife maladies that are unavoidable for men and women prior to their golden years. The show attempts to guide the audience through a series of witty songs and vignettes about people amidst the plight of finding themselves in their 40s and 50s in a style reminiscent of Menopause the Musical and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

A theatre would be hard pressed to find more able actors to sell this show than the talented cast of Midlife! assembled here. Allan Baker is funniest in a comedic bit about medication labels called "Side Effects." Lourelene Snedeker is engaging in a song about seeing the world anew after LASIK surgery in "When He Laughs." Margot Moreland is best when portraying menopausal madness in "Classic Menopause." Barry J. Tarallo and Maribeth Graham are funniest in a song poking fun at aging forgetfulness called "What Did I Come In Here For?" and a scene entitled "midlife Translator." Wayne Steadman is funny as an annoying live-in son, walking across stage with a deadpan face and long hair, in a song about empty nest syndrome called "Some Kids."

With one plain set, simple staging and negligible costuming, Midlife! relies on the actors to sell the material. Although the premise and intent of the show is sound, the material is hit and miss. Though this is really a musical revue, the through-line needs to be stronger, and relationships between characters better defined. The writers spend time trying to be funny at the expense of sincere, and the show doesn't ever quite take off. Though the score is seamlessly played by musical director / pianist David Nagy, there are no memorable melodies in Midlife!, with the exception of the song "The Long Goodbye." This scene and song about contemplating the loss of one's aged parent is surprisingly poignant. If the show had more moments like that, juxtaposed with stronger comedic moments, such as in "midlife Translator" and "What Did I Come In Here For?," it would be a delight. As it stands, it is fairly pleasant but largely forgettable theatrical fare.

Midlife! - The Crisis Musical will be appearing through August 10, 2008 at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. Actors' Playhouse is a nonprofit professional regional theatre hiring local and non-local Equity and non-Equity actors. Actors' Playhouse produces musicals, comedies and children's theatre shows year round, and offers a full range of classes for all experience levels. Actors' Playhouse is located at 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, FL. Information and tickets may be obtained by contacting the theater at their box office at (305) 444-9293, or online at

Allan Baker*
Maribeth Graham*
Margot Moreland*
Lourelene Snedeker*
Wayne Steadman*
Barry J. Tarallo*

Director: David Arisco
Musical Director: David Nagy
Scenic Design: Gene Seyffer
Lighting Design: Patrick Tennent
Sound Design: Alexander Herrin
Costume Design: Ellis Tillman
Production Stage Manager: Carl Waisanen*

* Designates member of Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere

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