Friday, November 20, 2020

Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s filmed production of Assisted Living; The Musical


Cast of Assisted Living from left: Lissa Valentine, Frank Kohel, Sharry O'Hare, Micheal O'Hara

Assisted Living: The Musical
is a comedic romp through an assisted living home where, as director Jon Douglas Rake puts it, “70-something is the new 20-something, only with looser skin.”

The cast includes Frank Kohel, Sharry O’Hare, Micheal O’Hara and Lissa Valentine. O'Hara and Kohel have appeared opposite one another in three shows in the past five years, including The Story of My Life at Olympia Little Theatre, Hairspray at Auburn Community Players and Man of La Mancha at 2nd Story Rep-Redmond. Valentine played Sherlock Holmes’ mother in Tacoma Little Theatre’s Holmes for the Holidays. O’Hare is practically a South Sound theater institution all on her own, having appeared often in many area theaters over the years, many times playing opposite her husband, O’Hara—don’t you just love the pairing of the names, and is the “chemistry” between these two any wonder? Recently she was seen in Forbidden Broadway at Lakewood Playhouse, The Full Monty at TMP and Calendar Girls at TLT. 

Music, lyrics and book were written by Rick Compton and Betsy Bennet, set by Bruce Haasl, costumes by Julles Mills, and filming and editing by Dennis Kurtz.

Assisted Living is a vaudeville-style show of silly skits, bad jokes, and silly songs—many of which are parodies of pop music and showtunes, all set in the Pelican Roost retirement home, and all poking fun at senior citizens.

O’Hara falls to the floor from his motorized cart and sings “Help, I’ve fallen for you and I can’t get up.”

Valentine sings a song about her ageing body with the refrain “saggy, saggy, sagging.”

Pushing a food cart, Kohel sings “Sunday night is steak night and my teeth have gone away.”

O’Hare sings a sweet and sad lament about internet acronyms and online dating and a sweetheart who writes BYB (be right back) but never comes back.

In a wild and crazy windup to the evening’s entertainment, the duo of O’Hare and O’Hara perform a tribute to Viagra as a medley of pop songs such as “Up, up and away with his beautiful blue pills” and “Viagra, I just took a pill called Viagra” (you know the tunes).

O’Hare writes about the rehearsals, staging and filming process:

When Jon brought us all together via Zoom, he let us know that this was going to be a collaborative effort and that we would do some rehearsals (via) Zoom and then a few times in person for marking our staging. He sent the music we would be using over the computer and guided us through our characters, truly allowing us generous liberties in creating them. We had three Zoom rehearsals; each of us had individual rehearsals at the theatre, and then we all met to put the opening and closing on stage. In addition to the normal concerns when directing, Jon now had to ensure that we were all social distanced and masked until we actually sang. None of us faced each other in the foursome during the numbers. We all decided the final week that we wanted in-person rehearsals and kept to the protocols in place. That final week was such a treat—got to see all the other skits and songs in the show.

“The filming was a new experience for all of us. It took a little over six hours. Some of the numbers went quickly and in one take. The most difficult solo I had went so well to my surprise. But I attribute that I had my personal conductor, Jeffrey Strvrtecky down at the edge of the stage guiding me through with the tricky rhythms. Micheal and I had a very challenging duet that we performed to perfection the first time and we all cheered at how well it went only to discover that the sound wasn't on! It was a struggle to get back on track, but with the magic of film they can splice our best work and piece it all together. Dennis Kurtz, who is a phenomenal photographer, did the tapings. Again, so strange to be distanced and masked throughout, except when we were actually performing. When we were finished, we all cheered and gave ourselves and the crew, Jon and Jeff, jubilant applause. It had been a long day, but one that lifted us from the troubles outside and brought us back on stage with a set, lights, props, costumes, makeup, and each other. Because, after all, isn't that what theatre does for us—both the performer and the audience regardless of what is going on in reality?”


ASSISTED LIVING: THE MUSICAL plays virtually filmed from the Tacoma Musical Playhouse stage. 


Show Times 

Friday, November 20 | 7:00 PM 

Saturday, November 21 | 2:00 PM 

Sunday, November 22 | 2:00 PM 

Ticket Prices

General Ticket Price $27.00 


Run Time

1 hour 15 minutes




Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at only. 


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