Intergenerational play combines stories of area seniors, performances by youth theater group

April 26, 2013

The stories of Wauwatosa seniors are the subject of a new stage production that will debut May 10 at Luther Manor Senior Living Community.

“The play is one way that Luther Manor is celebrating the many talents of our seniors during May, which is Older Americans Month,” said Kate Bertram, Director of Marketing.

“Schmaltz and Other Fond Memories from the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom,” written, produced, and directed by Diane Johnson, executive director of the Unity in Music youth theatre group, is the culmination of many writing workshops Johnson led at the Luther Manor Terrace last fall.

Johnson, who is the former artistic director for Modjeska Youth Theatre Company, first collaborated with Luther Manor residents on a musical, “Now I Can Soar” in February of 2012. The production featured performances by the members of Johnson’s youth theatre group as well as Terrace residents. The intergenerational experience was well-received by both parties, so Johnson returned to continue the collaboration.

“I held twelve two hour creative writing workshops for residents,” Johnson said. “During this time, about 40 seniors, and a few staff, wrote 200 pieces about their lives. Some were hilariously funny, some very moving. These stories were then combined, music added, and grew into a theatre piece.”

Presentations of “Schmaltz and Other Fond Memories from the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom” will take place at 7 p.m. on May 10 and 11 in the Lippold Faith and Education Center. Cream City Jazz Band will perform 30 minutes before show time to set the mood for the performance. Admission is free and first come, first served.

An accredited senior living community, Luther Manor has been caring and advocating for seniors for more than 50 years. In addition to apartment homes, assisted living and long-term care options, Luther Manor offers rehabilitation, adult day and supportive services, hospice care and community outreach programs. For more information, call (414) 464-3880 or visit

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