The company of the Geriatrical Theatrical.
Photo by Keri Pickett
Bain Boehlke has been a busy man this spring. Not only has he designed the set for Urinetown at his longtime home, the Jungle Theater, but he has found time to direct two local productions. One, International Falls, opened last weekend. The other, Geriatrical Theatrical, opens this weekend at the Plymouth Playhouse.
A lot of work for a man in his 70s? Maybe. Then again, Boehlke was past 50 when he founded the Jungle Theater 23 years ago.
The new musical features a veteran cast, including longtime Boehlke collaborators Claudia Wilkens and Richard Ooms. "I love working with Claudia and Richard. We have worked together for so many shows. We have a way of working together," Boehlke says.
The musical is set at a nursing home where the inhabitants are planning a variety show, hence the "Geriatrical Theatrical" of the title. Dee Noah and Phil Ross play a married couple living at the home, while Ooms plays Ross's brother, who has remained on his own following the death of his wife.
Wilkens plays "a character that belongs to the casino of life. She deals out afflictions like heart attacks and leg cramps, as well as good things. She has a casino table that she roles around, and they all play the game of life. In this particular production, Claudia Wilkens is holding the cards," Boehlke says.
The show, subtitled "celebrating the chronologically enriched," was crafted by John Fenn with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen, who worked on all of the Church Basement Ladies productions along with How to Talk Minnesotan: The Musical.
This is Boehlke's first time working at the Playhouse, where he is also designing the set for the production.
"I always design for the room. I start with the space and the needs of the play or production. This particular play has an abstract setting of the casino of life. I have designed a relatively simple set that is casino-esque, that also has to do with something cosmic and metaphoric, like the cabaret in Cabaret," Boehlke says.
The show features "some light comedy and really great songs. It's really interesting, because it is a brand-new play. You trust it and you go and see how the life of the play is revealed," Boehlke says. "The show has a very positive ending to it. In the show, you go through some moving numbers, but everything works out in the end on this side of paradise."
The Geriatrical Theatrical
2705 Annapolis Lane, Plymouth
For tickets and more information, call 763.553.1600 or visit online.