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Old Folks Boogie

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We baby boomers assume we’re the generation which is gonna stay forever young.  But there are some octogenarian rockers at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn who’ve beaten us to the punch. They’re the Young @ Heart Chorus in “End of the Road,” a production of the No Theater. The Y@H are two dozen men and women from Massachusetts, ranging in age from 74 to 91. You may have caught videos of them on YouTube doing songs like “Purple Haze” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.”

This new show, the last of a trilogy, is set in a spare, futuristic bar. There’s no plot, just a series of solos and group numbers. It starts a little shakily with “For All We Know” and drags a bit near the end with a wistful medley that goes on too long. But most of the songs resonate, simply because they’re sung by older singers... from Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” to the Traveling Wilburys’ “Handle Me With Care.”

Their big shtick is the way they enthusiastically sing songs you wouldn’t expect them to touch, like “Beginning to See the Light” by The Velvet Underground and “This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven” by The Pixies. There were a few too many many indie rock tunes for my taste, but they’ll probably connect with the Brooklyn crowd.

For the most part these golden girls and guys are on pitch, have good rhythm, and hit their cues. When they ditched their canes and walkers to get down to “Dance to the Music,” it was a real old folks’ boogie that had the audience on its feet. Some songs really take on new meaning in this context, like Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life,” (”I’m not gonna live forever/I’m gonna live while I’m alive.”) or Wilco’s “Theologians” (”don’t know nothing about my soul”).

It was moving to hear Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” followed by Fogerty’s “Long As I Can See the Light,” but the finale is upbeat: “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.” Maybe you don’t get too old to rock & roll after all.  Carpe diem, though - it only runs through Sunday, May 2.