Published on June 19th, 2013 | by Phoebe Wantz0
Senior Entertainers: The Third Age Theatre Group
REVIEW-THIRD AGE THEATRE GROUP: OLD IS NOT A 4-LETTER WORD
Muncie has a precious gem of theatrical entertainment that I had the pleasure of enjoying this afternoon, THE THIRD AGE THEATRE GROUP. This group was formed in 1992 by Dr. Donald Heady, Professor of Theatre at BSU. Upon the death of Dr. Heady in 1995, Mr. Frank Gray, BSU Communications Studies, was asked to take over the leadership of this group of senior entertainers.
The group is now comprised of men and women, ages 55 years to 94 years old. Gray has been their very capable leader ever since, even though he never qualified age-wise for the group. Some of you may remember Frank Gray from Muncie stages as a very gifted and talented actor, singer, and director.
Today’s show was called “Old is Not a 4-Letter Word” and was held in conjunction with The Community Center for Vital Aging at the Luther Church at 4401 N. Wheeling in Muncie.
What this group proves is that entertainers never lose their love to entertain, whether it is the love of singing, or dancing, or telling stories, or making people laugh. It was all captured in this lovely show by these seniors, and the joy in their eyes and the songs in their hearts!
Karen Bartling even kicked up her heels with a tap dance, and Rodelyn McPherson didn’t let anybody show her up, so she did a jitterbug to the tune of “Rock-Around-the-Clock.”
Kathy Mulroony gave an awe-inspiring rendition of the Janis Ian song, “At 17,” and I couldn’t help asking myself (being a theatre person for so long)…..where has this gal been with that voice?
Barb Frost added her lovely voice to touching songs we all remember, and Ruth Ann Berkey did a smashing job with a blues number.
Lavenna Putman, the oldest member of the group at 94, sang a sentimental, but beautiful song, “Then,” that made us all think and admire her beautiful voice.
The men did an “Old Men’s Rap” which was hilarious, but they each sang touching and heartfelt songs too. “September Song,” by Ole Bohn was particularly touching, as was Philip Stephenson’s “Younger than Springtime” and Chuck Leslie’s “When I Was Seventeen.”
Wanita Spence added the humorous bits that she is so famous for in her purple dress and flowery red hat….waving her hands and doing her winks and wiggles. The audience loved her!
The group is accompanied by Paul McDaniel and Jane Sylvester.
They appear at different organizations when booked. They will travel, but not too far. In September they will be appearing at a reunion in Anderson, and in Carmel at a Senior Citizens Organization. I would highly recommend this group, either for an evening’s entertainment…….or to book for your organization as a fundraiser. Just get in touch with Frank Gray….he is on Facebook…..or contact me. I will get the message to Frank. This is definitely a group that needs to be SEEN!