Nanas and the Papas: Celebration of grandparents Saturday at SPTC

October 25, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

An evening of wholesome entertainment provided by an eclectic group centered on a unique theme will be offered Saturday evening at the Santa Paula Theater Center where The Nanas and the Papas will celebrate grandparents.

The performers will explore the vital connections between grandparents and grandchildren through music, storytelling, humor and dance in a show about memories and tradition, love and courage, hope and fun.  

But most importantly, it’s a message of “saying yes to life” presented by a cast as diverse as the show itself.

Ken Delbo said the founders of the group are Dr. Arthur and Carol Kornhaber, “Very interesting people.... “

Arthur, a physiatrist, is the founder of The Foundation for Grandparenting, a nonprofit founded in 1980 about a decade after he became active in grandparenting research, a qualified expert in the field-including testifying before Congress-and an advocate. 

About three years ago Carol, who is a singer lived and performed in France, “Came up with the idea of doing the musical show and came up with the name,” that Delbo said dovetails perfectly with the theme.

Each member of the group-all but one is an Ojai resident-contribute vocally to the show including artistic director Candace Delbo and Connie Woodson. Jimmy Calire is on keyboards and saxophone, Fern Barishman plays keyboards and accordion, Patricia Cardinali is on guitar, JB White is on bass, and Ken is the drummer. Carol Kornhaber will also make a special guest appearance.

When the original group debuted the show at the then-Theater 150 in Ojai it, “Created a lot of buzz, was a big hit,” said Ken.

Although the show is “A musical review basically, the theme running through it is what Arthur calls legacy, what we learn and what we want to pass on,” to following generations.

Santa Paula Theater Center Board Director Linda Pennock saw the group last year in Ojai and was impressed, which Ken said led to the upcoming SPTC appearance.

It is easy to spot the appeal: “Our personal stories kind of come out and the show is essentially light and fun and musical,” with the three original songs like the others apropos to the theme, although based on personal experiences.

Ken and Candace Delbo have two young grandchildren living in Orange County so they can relate.

“We already were pretty passionate about our grandkids and it really hit home when we did our first show,” the universal impact of such relationships with the audience’s reaction ranging from laughter to tears and back to laughter, “a gamut of emotions.... “

And you don’t have to be a grandparent to appreciate that aspect of life: “We have a resident grandchild in the cast who plays off the relationship she had with her grandparents,” said Ken.

The show, “Also makes you think back and whether grandparents or not we were all children. If your grandparents were special you really feel blessed. Grandparents can add a huge dimension to your life that otherwise would not have been there.”

The show has been described as, “Homey and in some sense hokey.... we make fun of ourselves but the talent level is there and it’s a very good production.”

The group ranges in age from the 50s to the 80s and also includes a step-grandparent; some are full-time artists although all perform professionally.

And, added Ken, “It’s a heck of a lot of fun for us up there and we seem to bring a lot of fun to the audience.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. and showtime at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the show-suitable for all ages-are $15 each and can be purchased online or by phone, 805-525-4645.

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