/SPECIAL FOR THE AJT/

 

Residents of the Renaissance on Peachtree were Broadway-bound last evening as they took the stage to perform Dick Meredith’s comedy, “Misconceptions.” The cast, who ranged in age from 81 to 96-years-old performed to a standing room-only packed house in the Renaissance’s Starlight Theatre.

The play was put on by Atlanta Theatre to Go, a non-profit whose mission is to promote “creative aging.” Sondra Ilgenfritz, the founder and director of the program said that she had never had such a large turn-out at any of her over six years of performances.

According to findings by the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts for America and the National Center for Creative Aging, research shows that theatrical participation slows cognitive decline among the aging. Gerontology experts say involvement and participation in theatre and performing arts is the new “brain food.”

Ralph Sachs, Hazel Friedlander, Tina Perrot, and Ella Bernhard, Margaret Suttles, and Blanche Noyes were among the stars of the performance. All enjoyed the creative outlet and self- expression that performing in the play offered.

“I thought it was remarkable,” said Ella Bernhard, who starred in several Broadway productions in the 1930s. She said she was happy to re-awaken that part of her life. “It’s something I can have fun with again.”

The play, which depicted life in a senior community, included comical parodies and musical performances.

“I had no idea our residents could sing so well,” says Meredith Strube, Sales Advisor at Renaissance on Peachtree.

“We are a family here at the Renaissance,” adds Woody DeWeese, General Manager. “It was remarkable to see so many supportive family members in our audience cheering on their loved ones.”

The evening wrapped up with standing ovations, campaign toasts and bouquets of flowers to the talented actors and crew.