‘Mid Life! The Crisis Musical’ is Funny & Fast Paced, at Alhambra through Mar 24


Jacksonville’s Alhambra Theatre opened its second show of 2019 with the Jacksonville premier of “Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical” on February 20th, which remains onstage through March 24th. The theatre is located at 12000 Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida. Visit alhambrajax.com or call 904-641-1212 for reservations.

This is a musical revue and is quite different than many of the musicals seen on this stage. It offers a humorous look at the slings and arrows – the inevitable midlife complaints and maladies — that men and women encounter as they reach their forties and fifties. The show, written by brothers Bob and Jim Walton, had its world premiere in 2006 at a dinner theater in Minnesota.

The show is successful in guiding audiences through these years of transition due to the outstanding casting and direction by Producer/Director Tod Booth. The six actors are all veterans of many previous Alhambra shows and are a delight to watch as they sing, dance, and make dozens of costume changes during the nineteen songs. The cast of characters as they appear in the program are Brian D. Simmons, Patti Eyler, Michael Strauss, Lisa Valdini, Mark Poppleton, and Becky Baxter. The music was provided on piano by well-known pianist and director Anthony Felton. The colorful costumes were by The Costume Crew; the lighting design by Daniel Dungan.

The show is fast-paced and the cast is constantly changing clothing, donning wigs, and even using different voices to portray some of the characters. The characters don’t have names, they’re identified only as Man or Woman 1,2,3.

The titles of the musical numbers give the audience clues about the topics addressed: “Turning 40,” “Welcome to Mid-Life,” “A Trip to the Doctor,” and “Empty Nest” are included. Digital billboards on both sides of the stage also convey the topic of each scene in one or two words.

We found much to like and laugh at throughout as the cast struggled with universal dilemmas. While many of the songs were very funny, the song we liked best was poignant “The Long Goodbye” sung during the second act by the entire cast while seated in a park.

The Production Crew included Tod Booth (Producer/Director), Shain Stroff (Choreographer), Dave Dionne & Ian Black (Scene Designers) Daniel Dungen (Lighting Design), Eric Sullivan (Sound Design), Linnay Bennett (Sound Operator).

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.