Four-time Tony Award nominee and three-time Drama Desk Award winner Tovah Feldshuh will roll out her solo cabaret and comedy show Aging Is Optional (cause G-d I hope it is!) to venues in midtown Manhattan and the Hamptons in August.
The show will be performed at 7 PM August 1 and 3 at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City, and at 8 PM August 5 at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, New York.
The concerts will showcase the star of Broadway's Golda’s Balcony, Saravah!, Lend Me a Tenor, and Yentl, as well as the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and CBS’s Salvation, in which she plays the president of the United States. Feldshuh also appeared as the lively grandmother Berthe in the 2013 revival of Pippin. The Emmy nominee will tell stories from her eventful life and perform songs by the likes of Carole King, Bob Dylan, and others in her quest to explore “all paths to the full life movement and the delay of decrepitude.”
Feldshuh, 63, told Playbill, “What sparked this show was the life of my 103-plus-year-old Mother, Lily, and all of our desires to live fully forever. I make these quantum leaps in time to key moments in my life: When I rode my bike as a child all over the city, or climbed rocks in Central Park, or climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with our son two years ago. And where I hung upside down on Dr. Clark’s apple trees in Scarsdale [NY] where I was brought up. It took me 40 years on Broadway to get me back to those apple trees, but I did it in Pippin. I hung upside down eight shows a week for six months. It was the thrill of my life.”
In addition to her biographical parables, Feldshuh said she will be singing “tons of songs. I’m in two series now, I’m in the CBS series Salvation in which I play the president of the United States, I’m doing Rachel’s Bloom’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for CW, in which I sung ‘Where’s the Bathroom.’ That will definitely be in the show.”
Exercising her acting chops, she will sing the Carole King song “Beautiful” in character as her own mother (“You’ve got to get up every morning / With a smile on your face...”), and she will perform the number “Joe” from the musical Working in character as a man who finds ways to enjoy the little things in life in his retirement.
It’s an important message from Feldshuh, who said she learned five languages as a way of experiencing more of the world we live in. “I want to be a citizen of the world,” she said. “The world is much bigger than I am. And I want to inhabit as much of it as I can. I am on a quest stay in the game: to be an actress on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and television. You’re looking at the next Betty White, I hope. I am hoping to maintain my aliveness to the end of the road.”
Aging Is Optional (cause G-d I hope it is!) is directed by Jeff Harnar, with musical direction by James Bassi.
Here is her playlist:
“I’m Flying” by Mark “Moose” Charlap and Carolyn Leigh
“When I Was a Boy” by Dar Williams
“Beautiful” by Carole King
“New Words” by Maury Yeston
“Secret Gardens” by Judy Collins (additional lyrics & arrangement by David Friedman)
“Mon Amour” by Ray Jessel
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Ewan MacColl
“Where’s The Bathroom?” by Rachel Bloom, Adam Schlesinger and Jack Dolgen
“Joe” by Craig Carnelia
“No Time At All” by Stephen Schwartz
“You Make Me Feel So Young” by Josef Myron and Mack Gordon (arrangement by Larry Yurman)
“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan
Encore: “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner (arranged by Fred Wells)
There is a $60–$115 cover charge for the Feinstein’s engagement, plus a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at 54Below.com.
Tickets to Aging Is Optional at Bay Street Theater cost $55–$75 and can be ordered online at BayStreet.org or by calling the Bay Street Theater box office at (631) 725-9500.