Monday, April 19, 2010

It's the 'End of the Road' as we know it

These aren’t your typical grandparents.

While their peers are sitting in rocking chairs, Young@Heart, a chorus of senior citizens is rocking out, singing choral renditions of songs by artists from the Clash to Coldplay.

They bring their latest show, “End of the Road,” to St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO starting April 21 for a nearly two-week run.

"The Chorus alternately breaks your heart and breaks you up with songs that are illuminated by their age and what they bring to them – songs by The Pixies, the Traveling Wilburys, the Buzzcocks, Lou Reed, and more," said Susan Feldman, artistic director of St. Ann's.

The group, which has members ranging in age from 73 to almost 90, has been performing for almost 30 years, with members ranging from theater professionals to enthusiastic amateurs — though all share a love of performing and a vitality that would put some teenagers to shame. Previous performances have included songs by OutKast, the Beatles, Lou Reed, Radiohead, the Ramones and Jimi Hendrix.

The group was featured in the critically-acclaimed 2008 documentary, “Young@Heart,” which chronicles the group rehearsing in preparation for a performance in their hometown. They sing through illnesses, tragedies and deaths within their group, giving new meaning to the phrase “the show must go on.”

The seniors have even gone viral, with their irreverent music videos of “I Want to be Sedated,” by the Ramones and “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees receiving hundreds of thousands of YouTube views.

These octogenarians have taken their popularity on the road, racking up frequent flyer miles by touring in Europe, Canada and Australia. Despite being based in Northampton, Mass., the Brooklyn show marks the US premiere of “End of the Road.”

Unabashedly co-opting the songs of youth culture, Young@Heart’s performance can be sassy, joyful and touching, and always lively. “End of the Road” is sure to have audience members singing and dancing, from the young to the, well, you know.

Young@Heart in “End of the Road” at St. Ann’s Warehouse [38 Water St. between Main and Dock streets, (718) 254-8779] April 21 – May 1. Tickets $32–$75. For info, visit and

— Elizabeth Dana


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