The Community Actors Studio Theater, better known as CAST, is bringing back the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s musical-themed hit Boomers, The Musical Experience for a special benefit performance Aug. 27. The show is being performed in conjunction with the night’s overall event, titled “AFTER” (Arts for Tornado Emergency Relief). This special production is co-produced by Knox Concert Series, with all proceeds benefiting tornado victims from the April 27 storms that hit Calhoun County.
CAST artistic director Kim Dobbs created Boomers as a tribute to the music that she and other baby boomers grew up on.
“Many of the songs still have a life,” she said.
The show features several blasts from the past, including The Beach Boys, Motown, the British invasion and television standouts like I Love Lucy and Sonny and Cher.
“It’s just a tribute to what made us who we are today,” said Dobbs, who, at 64, is a boomer herself. “A lot of great, great music.”
Those who are familiar with the show will be happy to see that nearly all of the principal actors from the last run — which closed out the 2010-2011 season — are back, including actress Valerie Payton, who will reprise her role as Aretha Franklin.
“I got really lucky that I could bring in what I call ‘the best,’” Dobbs said.
The last time Boomers was presented, however, Dobbs was dealing with the aftermath of the natural disaster herself, as the preview night for the show was the day after the storms rolled through.
“Several of my people hadn’t been to bed at all,” she said. Many members of the cast, including a sheriff’s deputy, were dealing with the aftermath of the storm, and several of the cast members were volunteers as well, Dobbs said.
Because of that, she came prepared.
“I had plan A, plan B, plan AB, plan BA, plan C, plan D and plan E,” she said. “I had to implement many of those plans during the course of the show.”
But the run ultimately was a success. “We did our job,” she said.
Dobbs is “ecstatic” to bring the show back, and feels honored to do it for such a deserving cause.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to do something for the victims … that hopefully will lift the spirit and also assist them in the recovery of their lives,” she said. “I’m just wanting to have a big, big audience so that we can do something great for the members of our community who have suffered.”
For first-time Boomers, the show promises to be both reminiscent and engaging.
“It’s an exciting, moving and fun journey that we take [the audience] on,” Dobbs said. “We try to revive memories [of] those who were there, and create new memories for those who weren’t there.”
Individual tickets for the AFTER event are $20 and can be purchased by calling 256-820-CAST, visiting castalabama.org, and at local businesses. For more information, visit calhouncountytornadorelief.org. CAST will open the 2011-2012 season with the off-Broadway hit I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Sept. 21–26.
Erin Williams is a graduate of Faith Christian School and the University of Alabama. She is a performing arts aide for the Washington Post Style section.