Young@Heart Turns 35

Young@Heart Turns 35

Fri · May 5, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Reserved Seating// $35 & $20.00 (plus applicable fees)

Come celebrate with us as the Young@Heart Chorus turns 35 years old with lots of new music ranging from Leonard Cohen to the Psychedelic Furs, Los Lobos, Radiohead, Tears for Fears, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and much more.

Young@Heart Turns 35
Young@Heart Turns 35
When Bob Cilman and Judith Sharpe organized the Young@Heart (Y@H) in 1982 all of the members lived in an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA called the Walter Salvo House. The first group included elders who lived through both World Wars. One of our members had fought in the Battle of the Somme as a 16 year old and another, Anna Main, lost her husband in the First World War. Anna was a stand-up comic who at 88 told jokes that only she could get away with. She sang with us until she was 100. We celebrated her 100th birthday with a parade downtown. We actually had to reschedule the parade for a year later when her family informed us that we had the date wrong and she was only 99. This initial group also included Diamond Lillian Aubrey who came on our first two European tours and wowed the audiences with her deadpan version of Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy". In later years she appeared "on stage" via video, performing the Stone's "You Can't Always Get What You Want".
By 1983 our original group was ready to create our first stage production. We enlisted the support of Roy Faudree from No Theater to stage "Stompin' at the Salvo". No Theater was doing the most intriguing theater work in town and I was stunned when Roy agreed to stage the first show. That first production was memorable for the sensation and buzz it created in town. The show sold out four times and brought in a broad cross section of younger and older people from the community. It also brought us new performers. In early 1984 Eileen Hall, Warren Clark, and Ralph Intorcio joined the group. Warren and Ralph were both very good at doing female impersonations. Warren took on the persona of Sophie Tucker, a popular vaudevillian stage performer and Ralph did a send-up of Carol Channing's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend". Eileen was born and raised in London and brought us an array of different routines, including strip, mime and the song "Nobody Loves a Fairy When She's ...Ninety." Y@H decided to combine these performances with a group of Latino break-dancers from another local housing project. The result was "Boola Boola Bimini Bop". These two shows were the first of many collaborations Y@H created with different arts groups in town. A few others included "Oh No a Condo" in 1988, with Cambodian folk artists and punk rockers; in 1991 "Louis Lou I – A Revolting Musical" reunited us with Roy and No Theater for a huge production (over 100 people involved). The piece was a re-telling of the French Revolution using the songs of Sinatra. In 1994 Y@H created "Flaming Saddles", a big campy production with the Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus written by Sally Rubenstone. There were many other community collaborations along the way.
In 1996 No Theater was in Rotterdam performing in the annual R Festival. Roy asked the organizers about the theme for the next year's festival. When he discovered that it was Forever Young, he told the organizers about Young@Heart and plans began to bring the group over to Europe. This was the first time we would create a stage production that just included members of the chorus. Mixing songs and costumes from past shows with some new music we created Young@Heart in "Road to Heaven" staged by No Theater. The response was phenomenal and the chorus went on to 12 more tours of Europe, Australia and Canada from 1997-2004. We performed "Road to Heaven" at the Lyric Hammersmith in November 2000 with the support of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT). It was in London that the groundwork was laid for Young@Heart in "Road to Nowhere" stage by No Theater. A consortium of presenters including LIFT, The Rotterdamse Schouwburg, The Hebbel Theater in Berlin, and Brugge 2002 commissioned the new work. The show premiered fall 2004 in the Oude Luxor Theater in Rotterdam presented by the Rotterdamse Schouwburg. "Road to Nowhere" toured to Zurich, Berlin, Dublin, Angers and Strasbourg after a 12-show run in London in 2005. In July 2009 Young@Heart in "End of the Road" by No Theater premiered at the Manchester International Festival in Manchester, England. Young@Heart performed "End of the Road" at the Rotterdamse Schouwburg in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and the Vooruit Theatre in Ghent, Belgium in September 2009. "End of the Road"'s US premier was at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York in April 2010 and we are in working to bring it to Poland in Summer 2011.
Y@H receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Korein Foundation and the City of Northampton.
Alive and Well, the Y@H in concert, features songs from past productions and also allows us to experiment with new music in front of a live audience. We've performed Alive and Well on college campuses and clubs in the US and the Glor-Irish Music Centre, Ennis, Ireland; Wilshire Theater, Los Angeles; Capitol Theatre, Salt Lake City; Somerville Theatre, Massachusetts; Beacon Theatre, New York City; Ellington Theater, Washington, D.C; the Newport Folk Festival, the Colonial Theater, Pittsfield, MA, the Barnstable Performing Arts Center and Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Young@Heart is Alive and Well also performed at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC on December 5, 2009 and the Hatboro-Horsham High School Theater in Horsham, PA, Dec. 6, 2009. Young@Heart toured to Japan and New Zealand in the spring and winter of 2010, in between we toured to up to Canada & upstate NY, went all the way out to Boston and Cape Cod, too. This year, we've already been to New Hampshire and Maine. We'll perform in Connecticut and then return to Worcester this Spring. In the fall, we plan to hit the Mid-Atlantic states.
The 2006 Walker George documentary "Young @ Heart", originally broadcast on Channel 4 television in the UK, won two Rose d'Or awards, the LA Film Festival Audience Award, screened at Sundance in 2008 and in April 2008 Fox Searchlight released it in North American cinemas. More recently the film has been released in cinemas around the world including the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, and Japan. In 2008 the film won the Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival, the Paris Cinema International Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Bergen International Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival and others. The film aired in January 2010 on the PBS series "Independent Lens".
Y@H released the CD, "Mostly Live" in August 2007. The CD was re-released in the US by Rhino Records in August 2008 and Rhino Records digitally released the film soundtrack the US. A compilation CD of "Mostly Live " and the film soundtrack is available on line. Young@Heart's Finding the ZEN in senior citizen t-shirts are available on line and at Alive & Well shows, too.
The current performers in Young@Heart range in age from 73 to 89. There are some with prior professional theater or music experience, others who have performed extensively on the amateur level, and some who never stepped onto a stage before turning eighty. None of the current performers of Y@H were part of the original group that formed in 1982, but they have kept alive the spirit of the early pioneers and continue to push the group into glorious new directions.
Venue Information:
Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main Street
Northampton, MA, 01060