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Boomermania! Let’s break it down: The “Boomer” portion of that title phrase refers to the Baby Boom Generation (people born between 1946 and 1964). The titular “mania” section of Debbie Kasper and Pat Sierchio’s musical comedy—Boomermania, in North Hollywood, through July 24—suggests the sort of mass madness that comes to mind when we think of a phenomenon called Beatlemania.

Boomermania is a manic parody of all things “Boomer.” Children are portrayed as being constantly battered by TV riddles and mind-numbing commercial slogans—“I’m a Pepper”? “You’re a Pepper”? Period programming such as Bonanza and I Dream of Jeannie are presented as tubed entertainment’s answer to comfort food: reassuring but not particularly nourishing.

Cleverly (and sometimes not so cleverly), Kasper and Sierchio bring lyrics to their book that are musically aligned to the tuneful melodies of the doo wop 50s, the salacious 60s, and the selfish 70s. Both Kasper and Sierchio lend patchy direction to the proceedings, with Mary Ekler providing spot-on orchestrations and vocal arrangements, and Edward Carigan creating crafty choreography, which nicely showcases the able six member cast.

Though Boomermania may not be quite ready for either Broadway or prime time, it is slightly more than two-hours of frenzied fun that all generations are more-or-less likely to enjoy. Melodies of classic rock ‘n roll songs are loaded-up with wordplay and rhymes that are unique to Boomermania. Fans of shows such as Menopause: The Musical may recognize the formula. For instance, instead of Bob Dylan inveighing, “Everybody Must Get Stoned,” we have the ensemble doing a number they call “Everybody Must Get Phoned” (a paean to the ubiquity of electronic communication—even back-in-the-day).

Similarly, yesteryear’s top-forty lists are combed in such a way that “Stay,” “The Beat Goes On,” and “Staying Alive” all become conveyers of refrains that sound like oldies standards but are renewed, if not exactly refreshed, by simple rewordings.  The vaguely trite Temptations’ tune, “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch,” for example, becomes the obnoxious “Sugar Pops, Cap ’n Crunch”—supposedly sung by Romper Room acolytes on a sugar high, ugh!

In addition to the song and dance shenanigans, Boomermania is also stuffed with sketch-comedy. One notably amusing bit is a send-up of Masterpiece Theatre, wherein a narrator (the perfectly-pitched Benjamin Goldsmith) gives a dramatic interpretation of a “Dick and Jane” reader (“Run Dick…Run Jane…See Spot run…”).

Indeed, for all the groaners embedded in a script that at times seems desperate for genuine wit, it is the ensemble of six performers (besides the deadpanned Goldsmith, there is Daniel Amerman, Dylan Vox, Sarah Weismer, Kimberly Wood, and Alison Friedman) and the trio of musicians (Mary Ekler, Randy Landas, and Jim McCarty)—who play with remarkable energy and grace—that make this collective effort a worthy, albeit checkered, theatrical experience. Add the complex and inventive scenic and lighting designs of David S. Goldstein, as well as Erica D. Schwartz’s vast array of era costuming, and there is a lot of show in the busy-ness that is Boomermania.

Boomermania continues at the El Portal Theatre—5269 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood—through July 24. Show times are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Matinees are at 3 p.m. on Sundays. For reservations dial (866) 811-4111. For online ticketing and further information, visit



Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”


Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.