A new true musical
Heartfelt, humorous ‘80-Year-Old Boyfriend’ sparkles at Loft Theatre
"Charissa Bertels dazzles in one-woman musical about an unlikely friendship...Charissa’s superb rendition of “The Love Left Behind,” strikingly accented in lavender and blue by lighting designer John Rensel, is an empowering knockout...Throughout the breezy production, fluidly directed with engaging intimacy by Sean Daniels, Charissa’s triple threat talent is on energetic, entertaining and sincere display. Whether exhibiting Fosse expertise with slinky grace, seamlessly handling costume transitions, tap dancing with finesse or showcasing her lovely soprano while playing the piano, she leaves nothing undone. It is apparent this show is a vehicle intended to make prospective producers sit up and take notice...Before Charissa takes off-Broadway by storm, see her in Dayton delivering one of the best performances of the season."
Human Race’s “My 80-Year Old Boyfriend” is THE Show of the Summer
"Watching Charissa perform her life’s story is a privilege. Throughout the performance she continues to amaze the audience with her ability to beautifully belt song after song, dance her heart out with ease and even plays the piano – she’s a triple-threat unlike any I’ve seen on a Cincinnati stage.
In partnership with Charissa, Christian Duhamel and Ed Bell have woven together a masterpiece. Using the thread of friendship, the team has sewn together the many fabrics of our heroine’s life in a beautiful, thoughtful and realistic tale showcasing the hardships of life and the importance of chasing your dreams. The music, lyrics and storyline are so uniquely compelling and powerful it’s almost hard to believe that this show is not already a Broadway hit."
“My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend” at Human Race is a MUST SEE for All Ages
"Charissa Bertels is a multi-talented actor. She plays both the part of herself and Milton in a humorous and compelling manner. Her ability to sound like a 20-something woman then immediately become an 80-year-old New Yorker is astounding. This musical tells of Charissa Bertels’ life in New York City, with book and lyrics written by Christian Duhamel, music and lyrics written by Ed Bell. Directed by Sean Daniels, Bertels does it all–she sings, dances, narrates, plays the piano and she brings the people she is portraying alive through her amazing voice and physicality...This a must-see new musical–100 minutes of sheer entertainment."
Talkin' Broadway Review: ATC's My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend
"With a passionate performance by Bertels and an important message about how we should cherish the time we have with family and friends, My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend at Arizona Theatre Company proves to be funny and fun and also a deeply moving and universal story about the power of friendships and the importance of connections between human beings."
Curtain Up Phoenix: ATC’S “My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend" is a touching look at an unusual relationship
"A delicate, touching, and revealing look at an unusual but amazingly sincere relationship between 80-year-old Milton and a much younger woman is explored eloquently by performer/author Charissa Bertels in her one-woman tribute to her inspiring relationship. Bertels plays both roles with superb definition as she holds the stage dynamically for the almost two-hour play. That is no easy task in a one-person, multi-character script."
BWW Review: ATC Returns With Triumphant New Musical
"If the title conjures a trope of rich old men flaunting younger trophy brides, you're not alone. That said, the content proves otherwise; it's a fundamental conceit to draw attention to an oft-deferred matter of ageism, that underrated anathema of social ills. Charissa Bertels, the consummate talent who conceived and stars in the show, is primed to give us a tutorial, from first-hand experience, on how to navigate the age terrain. At the heart of the lesson, we're made to acknowledge a powerful friendship that defies every societal norm. I wasn't sure I'd buy the premise, but the story of 80 Year-Old Milton got to me."
Arizona Daily Star: ATC launches season with irresistible 'My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend'
"The pandemic made it feel like maybe we could survive without live theater. “My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend,” ATC’s season opener, proves that we can’t. And it’s all about what we’ve been hungry for: connection.
The play-with-music was conceived by and stars the immensely talented Charissa Bertels...“Boyfriend” is very funny, very relatable. You are pulled in by Christian Duhamel’s book and lyrics and Edward Bell’s music; they illuminate the story and, at times, move you to tears. But what makes this play so compelling is Bertels. She knows how to tell a story while she wraps her arms around you and draws you in."
Human Race Theatre Company Announces New Season Including My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend in 2021
The 34th season kicks off early this year, in August, with the mysterious comic-drama, Now And Then by Sean Grennan. Then in October, they’ll rock the Loft Theatre with Airness, a new play by Chelsea Marcantel that follows whacky participants in the Air Guitar World Championship. The winter brings us the thoughtful and timely drama of a family dealing with a transgender child, Everything That’s Beautiful by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder. Spring blooms with laughter as the O’Shea family must confront the Incident At Our Lady Of Perpetual Help by Katie Forgette. And closing the season June 10 – 27 is a new musical, co-written by a WSU grad and Human Race alum, Christian Duhamel, and composer Edward Bell – the title says it all – My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend.
Christian Duhamel Wins the 2018 Kleban Award for Most Promising Musical Theatre Librettist
Christian Duhamel received the prestigious 2018 Kleban Award for Most Promising Musical Theatre Librettist for his work on My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend. Charissa was honored to perform a piece from the show at the awards ceremony held on February 5. Congratulations, Christian!