WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIDS TODAY?

The above headline was taken from one of the signature songs that appeared in the stage musical Bye Bye Birdie that asked the title question from an adult that didn’t understand the so-called “youth of today”.
Back when that song was first introduced to the theatre going public back in 1960, the eldest of what was known to become the “Baby Boomer” generation was fourteen years old, an age where that kid was finishing up junior high/middle school and was about to embark their high school journey, and thus, eventually becoming teenagers. This group discovered television, the joys of automobiles (either as drivers or passengers within their peers), as well as that newfangled music called “Rock ‘n Roll” that was wild, hip, had a good beat, and you can dance to it!
Adults, on the other hand, didn’t understand what was going on with this form of youth. Of course, these kids were to be been deemed the leaders of tomorrow. They would be the ones that would be on their own after high school, either taking the path toward higher education or getting into the work force. They would also marry, raise a family, purchase a house, as well as to consume a whole lot of stuff. However, they were still kids! It wasn’t until they would turn the magic age of twenty one where they can do real adult stuff, such as drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and vote in local and federal elections.
Advertisers knew that selling to the youth was the thing to do. Those sales were mostly items that teenagers would likely use such as food products (the Seven-Up Company would advertise the “7-Up Float”, a tasty drink consisting of a scoop or two of ice cream or sherbet in a malt glass full of the named soda pop), consumer products (Kodak camera were ideal for teens to take pictures for keeping lasting memories), clothing (for both the guys ‘n gals), as well as other items that those kids would spend from their allowance (dispensed from dad), or from their part time jobs.
In the latter part of the 1960’s when those early boomers started to become “real” adults taking upon real identities, they began to rebel. They started to question authority from local and national leaders. They didn’t care for war, and didn’t really want any part of it. They had their rock ‘n roll, but it was sounding far different that the songs sung by Paul Anka, Ricky Nelson, or even Elvis from a few years before. They stared to have their own counterculture that the adults really didn’t understand.
This form of “us vs. them” was called The Generation Gap, that phase where the adults were within their own lines of tastes, culture, and methods of operations comparing to what the youth was up to. Some took this generation gap seriously, while others was it for what it was worth. It become a subplot in many TV sitcoms involving multi generation families. It inspired a game show called “The Generation Gap” where MC Jack Berry would ask questions between a teem of adults (over the age of 30), and a team of kids under the age of eighteen on each other’s domestic interests and styles. Generally speaking, it was the youths vs the elders in their never ending battle of who’s right and who’s otherwise.
In today’s post modern society, that generation gap still remains but in a different method. The Millenniums, the adults aged eighteen through the early thirties, seem to be the ones in the spotlight. They have it all, being that this is the generation where they may not have discovered cyberspace, but embraced it! They have made the smartphone a way of life. Any gadget that can access the ‘net through wireless means have become their be-all-to-end-all. They either grew rich in sprit or through finances thanks to tech, or are attempting to do so. Advertisers are also shifting their focus on this demographic attempting to sell product that they can either afford or not.
But they don’t have it all good! Many of them are deep in debt due to student loans for a college education. Many of them, although of legal adult age, haven’t grown up yet! Thanks to lower paying jobs, the rising cost of housing as well as the for noted student loan debt, are still living within the same home of the family that raised them. But they do have their hopes on high, knowing that life will become better! Just as long as they can do good for themselves and the world they live in.
But unlike generations before, the older adults aren’t necessarily the real winners here. The middle aged ones from the “Generation X” sector are either doing OK, or are just getting by. This group, born between 1965 through 1979, were hit pretty hard during the Great Recession of ’08 with the loss of homes, jobs, and income. When they were at their youthful peak in the early-middle 1990’s, they were the types that were first to become doomed through notices that this generation would become the first ones to be father down the line of success as their parents were when they were their age. However, they would eventually succeed, rising to the occasion.
Now their is another generation taking form, dubbed “Gen Z”. These folks were born before the year 2000. These are the ones that can’t remember life without the internet and the gadgetry that comes with it. These are the kids/young adults that were born and raised by both the Millenniums or the Gen Xers. And those Gen Zers know where they stand since cyberspace tells them!
But as the young before the darlings of their world, the enders will see how their life and times were the ones that shaped their world and everyone else’s. Time will tell how the Gen Zers will do in comparing to The Millenniums, the Gen Xers, or even The Baby Boomers–still holding on to the power, money, and fame that made them what they are. That is, assuming that somebody a whole lot younger will take heed.
The Generation Gap really never went away. It just took another shape and form. And it’s still the subject of video sitcoms. You can see those for yourself one episode at a time, or through a streaming binge marathon! If the kids can do it, so can anyone else! That’s the real matter of kids today, or any day!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood presents the world premier of Ray Richmond’s TRANSITION, a tale based on “fact” of an intimate meeting of the minds as one passes the torch to the other in becoming the leader of the free world.
The date is the morning of November 10th, 2016. The presidential election was held just two days before, sealing the fate on who just won. At the White House, President Barack Obama (Joshua Wolf Coleman) is to have a meeting of president elect Donald J. Trump (Harry S. Murphy) where the outgoing leader of the nation is to give a few sidelines with the new king of the USA. For an hour and a half, Obama and Trump square off into what was planned to be a rather peaceful and somewhat intimate gathering. Obama presents himself as he is seen through the media. Trump, on the other hand, is Trump! As the two round off upon issues ranging from the alliance upon Russia, the wall, the fate of Obamacare, as well as how Donald J. expresses to his public in under 140 characters, these two settle the score on how this transition of power, fame, and even money, will either carry the USA on its feet or to its knees!
This one act play by Ray Richmond is very witty, biting, fast placed, as well as downright comical! The pair of players, Joshua Wolf Coleman as Obama, and Harry S. Murphy as The Donald, portray their roles down to a “T”! Obama seems to be the sensible one, while Trump is the bombastic soul who can and will be the elephant in the room. (He is a Republican after all!) This clash of personalities add to much of the humor that this production presents! Director Lee Costello keep the pacing going for its ninety minutes–the exact same time that these two really met on that faithful Thursday morning after the election!
Pete Hickok’s set design of the Oval Office is what one would expect for a set design of the Oval Office! A large presidential sized desk set in the rear center, with two upright leather-esque chairs are arranged in front side by side. These are the type of chairs one would find in such a government issued room of affairs. They may not be comfortable to sit on, but looks great in photo ops!
Rounding out the cast is Trevor Alkazian as a Presidential aide.
What makes this play amazing is not only it’s very comical and sharply written, but is was created in just under four months! It’s also the first play written by Ray Richmond. His previous works consists of writing books on television programs such as The Simpsons, Jeopardy, and on “TV moms” over the years, as well as creating TV program commentary bylines for such publications as The (Los Angeles) Daily News, The Orange County Register, and the show-biz “trades”. Of course, this is Ray’s interpretation of what really went on behind closed doors. Then again, with all of that fake news that’s been going down over the past few weeks, perhaps this is an accurate recreation. Even if it bended the truth a bit, it’s still the rip-roarin’ hoot is presents itself to be! They don’t call this making America great again for nothing! (That last line was just under the 140 characters!)

TRANSITION, presented by Theatre Planners, and performs at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (One block east of Vine Street at El Centro), Hollywood, until April 16th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. No performances on March 31st, April 1st, and April 2nd.
     For for information or for ticket reservations, call (323) 960-4418, or via online at http://www.Plays411.com/Transition.
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All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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