Seniors share good times with ‘Shenanigans’ show

HOWELL — With three elderly sisters seeking ingredients for their stone soup, Robin Hood cracking jokes and a princess doing a medieval line dance, participants at the Howell Senior Center put on a performance of “Sherwood Shenanigans” for the center’s annual variety show.

The variety show, which is now in its 13th year, showcases the talents of almost 20 seniors in a new production each year, according to Ann Albano, a social worker for Howell Senior Services and the producer of the show.

“Sherwood Shenanigans” was performed in February. Dozens of seniors attended the performances, and they were joined by special guests including Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro and Township Manager Jeffrey Mayfield.

All of the female cast members received complimentary makeup, courtesy of Pia Cano Marcks, a beauty consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics.

“This is our 13th year, and in the past we have done everything from a cross country theme to a grown-up version of fairy tales,” Albano said. “This year’s production is a medieval story of love and honor.”

Seniors who performed ranged in age from about 60 to almost 100, according to Diane Brush, who directed the show and volunteers at the senior center.

“Doing the show keeps us all young and on our toes,” Brush said.

“We have been rehearsing for several months. … The purpose of practicing and performing the show in general is to use the creative part of the brain and develop that skill even more,” Albano said.

Brush said, “Ann is very modest about the work she has put into producing this show because without her there would not be any of this. The play this year is very cleverly written and is the first play the seniors are really taking on. Ann is the catalyst behind this entire project and works tirelessly.”

Albano said her regular duties often involve helping seniors deal with a crisis, but the purpose of producing the variety show is to have fun.

“I always enjoy writing and producing the show each year. These seniors are wonderfully supportive of each other and laugh and cry with one another. During the practice period this year we had two heart surgeries, a hip replacement and a knee replacement, and everyone always wished each other well,” Albano said.

The seniors who were involved in the show this year were so excited about the production that they already have an idea in mind for next year — a musical, according to Brush.

Betty and Joe Brady have been a part of the variety show for seven years.

Betty said, “I had never been outspoken before I did these shows, and now I am thanks to Ann’s help. She is a great producer.”

Lilian Cairns was excited to once again take part in the show, saying, “I am a narrator and I have been participating in the show and other events for 15 or 16 years. I enjoy it because it is a lot of fun to do every year and I am excited to perform.”

Senior center director Melanie Decker said “Sherwood Shenanigans” was a lot of fun for all the participants.

“Seeing them all enjoy themselves is great. The show was the highlight of my day today,” Decker said.

— Taylor M. Lier