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‘Don’t Leave It All to Your Children’ - Review

Life Today from the Perspective of Those Who’ve Lived a Lot of It

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Don't Leave It All To Your Children, Ronnie Schell, Steve Rossi

Ronnie Schell, Marcia Rodd, Steve Rossi, Barbara Minkus

Photo by Carol Rosegg

Don’t Leave It All To Your Children! is a 90-minute off-Broadway musical comedy review offering a perspective on how life looks from those in sight of the end of it. The show features 20 songs interlaced with blackout sketches, monologues and a bit of audience interaction.

What This Show Is About

Don’t Leave It All To Your Children! hits many right notes (among a few sour ones). It reminds you of a combined episode of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in and The Carol Burnett Show, complete with the one-liners and a cast that can’t stop cracking each other up. When the jokes clunk, they clunk hard. When they hit, they're a bunch of silly fun. The subjects of skits and songs range from the delight of grandchildren to the despair of bladder control. Whatever is sung or laughed about relates to the perks and pitfalls of growing older.

One of my favorite lyrics, concerns the trials of watching TV and wondering “if there are any shows on where the actors keep their clothes on.”

Ultimately, what Don’t Leave It All To Your Children! is about matters far less than who it is for. It is for a senior audience looking for humor that resonates with them, their stage in life and their view of life now, including how much it seems to have changed.

The house at the Actor’s Temple was full, and the target audience was clearly relating, enjoying, sometimes singing and sometimes finishing jokes before the actors could.

Who's Who and What's What

Don’t Leave It All To Your Children! started life in the still-fertile mind of Saul Ilson, a five-time Emmy-nominated writer of such shows as The Smothers Brothers. He wrote book, music and lyrics and directed. The show ran four years in Palms Springs, California, when it was titled Senior Class. (Perhaps the better title, in my humble opinion.)

Ilson realized the growing senior demographic would respond to a gently-biting musical review to which it could relate, and he appears to be right.

Being right was helped immensely by the presence of comedian Steve Rossi in the show. Rossi was half of the Allen & Rossi comedy team with Marty (“Hello, Dere!”) Allen. They appeared a record 44 times on The Ed Sullivan Show and headlined in Vegas until the act broke up in 1969.

Rossi has a wonderful voice, a great stage presence and enjoys himself on stage so much you can’t help but enjoy watching him. (OK, his dance moves need a little help, but that’s a small thing.)

He’s joined by Barbara Minkus, who has a slew of Broadway, off-Broadway and TV credits (I well remember her from Love, American Style, which certainly dates me and lets you know I spent a lot of Friday nights home alone); Marcia Rodd, a Tony-nominee for Shelter, who can still belt it; and Ronnie Schell, who most will remember from Gomer Pyle, USMC, but who also enjoyed a distinguished standup career.

Don’t Leave It All To Your Children isn’t for everyone, but it certainly hits the bulls-eye with its target market, for whom it is at times funny, ribald and touching.

Where and When

  • The Actor's temple
    339 West 47th Street
  • Show Times and Tickets
  • Opening: May 20, 2009
  • Closing: Open-ended run
  • Run Time:90 minutes (no intermission)
  • Genre: Musical-Comedy Review
  • Advisories: None
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