Sharing Unconditional Love with a Nursing Home Audience
I am learning to practice “unconditional love” as a result of my one-man “Larry’s Cabaret Show” for elderly audiences.
Here is how I realized it: Before the start of my show’s premiere, at Sedona’s Kachina Point nursing home, I went around to each person in the audience to shake hands and exchange names. I discovered that 1/3 of the audience were unable to shake my hand and say their name; I smiled, gave my name, and walked away. While another 1/3 of them could give their name and shake my hand, they seemed minimally able to relate. That left 1/3 to have a decent conversation with and later saw them as alert and lively audience members.
So, my show can reach 1/3 or so of the audience, but my unconditional love can touch everyone.
The photo is Ralph Lewis, a friend and audience member in the final 1/3 category.
Our “Inner Child” and Aging Gracefully
In the script of my one-man show for elderly audiences, “Larry’s Cabaret Show,” there are some passages that really touch my heart.
Here is one, very near the show’s end, “’Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,’ the up-beat song from the Disney movie, ‘Song of the South,’ won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1946. I was three years old then. My mother told me that I sang this song over and over again, day after day. And today at the age of 71, I’m still singing it. Because our ‘inner child’ never gets older. And if we allow and even encourage this child to express himself and thus give us his youthful energy, guess what the results can be: We slow down the aging process, live years longer, and create more health, well-being and happiness. Folks, isn’t that what we all want? So, with gusto let’s sing this song together!”
“Larry’s Cabaret Show” for Elderly Audiences Premieres
The premiere of my “Larry’s Cabaret Show,” specifically targeted to elderly audiences, happened at Sedona’s Kachina Point Health Care & Rehab Center, Sedona, March 10, 2015. The nursing home residents and staff enjoyed this new 45-minute show version of stories adapted from their and my senior lives, and up-beat songs taken from my longer “Growing Up Larry” one-man show that chronicles my life.
Here is how Kathleen Baiza, the Director of Activities, introduced me, “Last year, at the age of 71, Larry Rosenberg, a Sedona resident for 9 years, began a new career when he founded The Larry Show. After decades as a marketing professor, management trainer, and business consultant, in America and around the world, he discovered a new passion and purpose for his life. He is providing ‘entertainment that inspires’ for people of all ages, in Sedona and globally. This afternoon at Kachina Point, he will treat us to his Cabaret Show – with its stories, humor, and songs – which spans his life from his birth in Philadelphia in 1943, and into his senior years in our beautiful Sedona. Let’s warmly welcome Larry to share his heart-felt, funny and up-lifting Cabaret Show with us.”
I was heartened to see how well the nursing home audience responded with love and joy, although many in the room were physically and/or mentally impaired; but spirit can transcend and it did as I performed with all my heart.
My One-Man Show’s Jewish Version
“Growing Up Larry – The Wandering Jew,” a new version of my one-man show, was presented by and at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, Sedona, Arizona, February 15, 2015.
To create this Jewish version, I inserted stories about experiencing my born-into religion and my life’s three key synagogues (Philadelphia, Tokyo and Sedona), and Jewish culture as expressed by Yiddish and Hebrew words (especially those understood by many gentile Americans, such as chutzpah, mentsh, and yenta).
The show ended with a standing ovation, and me coming off the stage and giving high-10s to the people on the first row. Thank you, my show’s directors, Shondra Jepperson and Dev Ross-Reynolds, for getting me ready to do this show.
Surprise Video of My One-Man Show’s Finale
To my surprise, a dear friend, Tami Pivnick, Dog Eats Hat Productions, made a video of the finale scene and song (“I Am What I Am”) from her front-row seat at “Growing Up Larry – The Gay Story Line,” the world premiere of my gay-life one-man show.
The show was presented by Sedona/Verde Valley PFLAG, February 9, 2015, at the Church of the Red Rocks, Sedona, Arizona.
Please enjoy this informal video.
Premiere of My One-Man Show’s Gay Version
A full house, ample laughter and tears, standing ovation, and personal sharing by audience members and me happened at PFLAG Sedona & Verde Valley’s presentation of “Growing Up Larry – The Gay Story Line,” the world premiere of my gay-life one-man show, February 9, 2015, at the Church of the Red Rocks, Sedona.
The show illuminated my 71 years of discovery, challenges and triumphs as a gay man in America and Japan. I related my life’s turning-point stories (full of personal revelation and humor), and sang songs that expressed the stories (mainly from Broadway and by the Beatles).
PFLAG Sedona & Verde Valley is a chapter of America’s largest organization of families, friends and allies who are focusing on the support, education and advocacy for LGBTQ persons.
My heartiest thanks go out to my two extraordinary directors, Shondra Jepperson and Dev Ross.
My Strong Feeling for Australia
During my November 2014 trip to Australia, the Sydney and Alice Springs areas was about vacationing and sharing my one-man show, Growing Up Larry. For the latter, I learned three Aussie songs so I could surprise audiences with a sing-along. One song really moved me, “I Am, You Are, We Are Australians”; it has often been performed by the Aussie group, The Seekers (who at a concert in England in the 1960s had a warm-up act by The Beatles). This song is about the people and the land, from the Aboriginals there for 40,000 (some say 90,000) years, to those on the prison ships from the British Isles, and to modern times. Well, in singing this song, I have shed tears, and deeply felt the “former lives” I know that I lived there. And that made my trip Down-under feel like I was “home again.”
Outdoor Performance of My One-Man Show in Australia
I was asked by the Australian Consciousness Summit to share scenes and songs from my one-man show, “Growing Up Larry – Riding the Roller Coaster.” I performed under a primitive-style shelter, next to the Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park, in the center of Australia, November 22, 2014. Of the many scenes and songs in the full show, I selected these: Introduction to my family and Philadelphia birthplace (singing “Zippidy-doo-dah”), relationship with my father (“Oh My Papa”), early sexual confusion (“The Girl That I Marry”), return to the U.S. from living in Japan (“God Bless America”), and my current fulfilling life at 71 years old (“I Am What I Am”). I enjoyed every minute of this intimate sharing.
Australian Premiere of My One-Man Show
I was pleased to perform my one-man show, “Growing Up Larry – Riding the Roller Coaster,” at Val Fabian’s San Remo House, San Remo, on the Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia, November 13, 2014. Thanks to the efforts of John McKell, Avoca Beach, Australia, I was able to do a shortened version of the show, followed by a sing-along of my three favorite Australian songs. The all-women audience showed its appreciation very warmly. In this elegant home setting, I was the most natural and joyous I have been in presenting the show so far. We all had loads of fun.