As milestone birthdays go, the big 5-0 takes the cake as being one of the most traumatic. Women, especially, approach this date as a Grand Canyon of moments, one worthy of an Evel Knieval leap of faith. For actress Jan Neuberger, it became a pivotal jumping off point of creativity, a chance to poke a little fun, so she wrote a musical “Boomer Girl” as a one- woman show to mark the occasion.
West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park just gave Ms. Neuberger her moment in the spotlight, wrinkles and creaky knees and all, and she came off smelling like the proverbial rose. As a card-carrying member of the baby boomer generation, she feels well qualified to dish on the advent of middle age.
Looking like a pixieish Peter Pan herself, she nonetheless presents a cogent argument for the changes, menopausal and otherwise, that affect the girl to young lady to woman transitions that all females face. You may start off fearless but somewhere along the adventure reality sets in with concrete examples of how your body and mind are betraying you.
With a wonderful sense of humor, she advocates having sweaty sex with Antonio Banderas, if only in your imagination, and throwing away the granny flannel pajamas for a Victoria Secret red satin once in a while in a delightful number “Another Happily Married Day.”
A little vignette about crickets, Indian summer and childhood memories segues into a diatribe on “Hormone Replacement Therapy” and a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer about the rewards and risks of taking H. R. T. Calling Tina Turner the Patron Saint of Personal Responsibility, the Rock of Agelessness and a leggy vision in high heels, she sends out the message loud and clear: Be all that you can be.
Jan Neuberger clearly got Tina’s message because she is currently enrolled at Trinity College pursuing a degree in creative writing and anxiously ready to take on the role of Lee this summer at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts in “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.”
She started writing “Boomer Girl” about two and a half years ago, at age 48, as thoughts and feelings about that big birthday “came out as lyrics,” ideas that she thought might be worth stringing together. She realized early on that “stuff from your heart works.” Performing it a couple of time in New York City, and once at the Ivoryton Playhouse, she was delighted to take it off the shelf and bring it out for airing this past weekend at Playhouse on Park.
Her husband has videotaped the show so it may be time for some viral marketing on YouTube. While she feels it took chutzpah and courage to write, she knows she “had something to say that people could relate to across the generations.” Aging “is not a subject that is discussed honestly and she feels ‘passages’ should be treated humorously.”
Fifty is also a time in your life “when you look back and see the opportunities lost.” But, never fear, for Jan Neuberger is counting on being a photo on the Smucker’s Jar when she turns 100 with Willard Scott on “The Today Show” so she figures that she has fifty more years to get everything right. At this moment it’s “a whole new blank slate” to fill. Happy Birthday! Move over on the stage, Tina Turner, and make room for Jan Neuberger to strut her stuff.