Playwright Jerry Mayer is at it again. He celebrated his 90th birthday on September 5, 2021 – but that didn’t stop him from continuing to tickle everyone’s funny bone by creating the funniest plays around. Like the proverbial Energizer Bunny, Jerry has been writing hilarious plays for nearly nine decades and is just finishing up a new play which will be presented this summer. But YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED A BIT AND OTHER LIES also turns a new page in his long career: Jerry has fashioned his first musical with his son Steve. With book and lyrics by Jerry Mayer and music and lyrics by composer/musical director/pianist Steve Mayer, this is new and exciting territory for both.
Three couples are facing modifications and even transformations as they grow older – but often not wiser – as they navigate the vicissitudes of time. Directed by Chris DeCarlo, who also doubles as Steve Siegel, the hapless husband of Sarah Siegel (Evelyn Rudie), YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED A BIT AND OTHER LIES digs into the hysterical alterations and adjustments faced by the Siegels, along with pals Liz Dooley (Barbara Keegan), Mike Dooley (Tom Van Dyke), Audrey Bellini (Rachel Galper), and Eddie Bellini (Kyle T. Heffner). Father and son Mayer turn the fears and foibles associated with the inevitable changes that maturity brings into uproarious observations which will have every senior in the audience laughing and nodding appreciatively.
The songs are bouncy and uber-clever. “The Role Reversal Tango” asks how come, as the years progress, wives are now doing the driving and husbands are passengers in their own vehicles. Meanwhile, the boys poignantly want to know when poker nights turned into mah jong evenings. The ladies are thrilled when Liz tells them that her husband remembered her birthday with a gorgeous silk blouse – until they discover that it’s sleeveless (“Upper Arms”). What about the senior fog that accompanies a little ditty called “What Am I Doing in this Room?” And then there’s that “little blue pill” for an evening of passion.
Skilled director Chris DeCarlo helms the tale with gentle but forthright honesty. He is aided and abetted by a talented cast who can emote, sing, and dance with the best of them – especially with the help of skilled choreographer Cydne Moore. For the past eight years, the Santa Monica Playhouse has been celebrating a Jerry Mayer-a-thon, and the current premiere production makes it very clear why. YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED A BIT AND OTHER LIES is a musical about growing up – in your 60s and beyond. Seniors are living through these moments of mayhem, while their younger family and friends are getting a preview of what awaits. Get ready to giggle, chuckle, and outright guffaw as these six unwary adults find themselves approaching “the Golden Years.”
YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED A BIT AND OTHER LIES runs through June 26, 2022, with performances at 7 p.m. on Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets are $35 (special discounts for students, teachers, seniors, military, and groups 8+). For information and reservations, call 310-394-9779 or go online. The Santa Monica Playhouse requires proof of vaccination and/or a COVID test within the previous 72 hours. Masks must be worn throughout the show.