The first funny thing about â€œDon’t Leave It All To Your Children,â€ the musical revue about baby boomers becoming senior citizens, is the discount given to theater-goers under 55. Then, it’s at the Actor’s Temple Theater, which is an actual synagogue in New York’s theater district, once the spiritual home of Al Jolson and Jack Benny and Sophie Tucker, now presenting shows to help pay the rent.
In the course of 90 minutes, four veteran performers sing some 20 songs and crack twice as many jokes about growing up in the 1960’s and growing old in the twenty-first century . It is written by Saul Ilson, who spent decades as a writer and producer for such television variety shows as the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which helps explain the corny jokes:
- â€œWhen we got married, my wife’s slogan was Make Love, Not War; now it’s Make War, Not Loveâ€
- â€œHugh Hefner said he still has a different woman every night. Somebody should tell him these women are nurses.â€
- Growing old means â€œthe parts that don’t hurt, they don’t work.â€
In its own light, good-natured way, the show taps into the widely-held shock by the â€œDon’t trust anyone over 30â€/ Flower Power generation that both they and their pop icons â€“ the show mentions by name Sally Field and Steven Spielberg and Jane Fonda and Raquel Welch and even Beaver Cleaver (Jerry Mather of â€œLeave It To Beaverâ€) â€“ have become senior citizens.
The key to the charm of â€œDon’t Leave It All To Your Childrenâ€ is the cast. One song makes fun of Ed Sullivan, who is probably now best known as the variety show host who wouldn’t show Elvis below the waist and introduced the Beatles to America. Who better to perform this number than cast member Steve Rossi, who was one-half the comedy team of Allen and Rossi, appearing 44 times on The Ed Sullivan Show. The other stars are familiar faces, Ronnie Schell (who was Duke on â€œGomer Pyleâ€ and Marlo Thomas’s agent on â€œThat Girlâ€), Barbara Minkus (a regular on â€œLove American Styleâ€) and Marcia Rodd (Johnny Depp’s mother on â€œ21 Jump Street.â€) With that kind of pop culture provenance, â€œDon’t Leave It All To Your Childrenâ€ should have a retro as well as a geriatric appeal.