La Comedia Dinner Theatre presents ‘Grumpy Old Men’



SPRINGBORO — Eat your heart out “Golden Bachelor” Gerry Turner. Dan Embree and David Shough are the top draws for senior matchmaking around this region as evidenced in La Comedia Dinner Theatre’s decent local premiere of “Grumpy Old Men: The Musical,” based on the 1993 film of the same name.

Embree (John Gustafson) and Shough (Max Goldman) are winningly cast as squabbling Minnesota neighbors-turned-romantic rivals spying on and vying for lovely, introspective Ariel Traux (an effervescent Karie-Lee Sutherland attractively costumed by Emercita Erb and Mattison Williams). Both men revel in the humorous disdain and biting insults that have hardened John and Max’s relationship since high school. They also share a strong connection with Sutherland, especially Embree who reveals John’s tender side to great effect.

Composer Neil Berg, lyricist Nick Meglin and librettist Dan Remmes’ mediocre storytelling contains subpar songs and bad jokes but there’s merit in the show’s underlying message of living life to the fullest. Director/choreographer Chris Beiser’s cohesive cast includes principals Charlie Goetz as Grandpa Gustafson, Mitch Holland as Jacob Goldman, Julie McNamara as Melanie Norton, John Dorney as Chuck Barrels, Dana Embree as Sandra Snyder, and Meghan Slowik as Punky Olander. Holland and McNamara are particularly relatable as devoted children torn between a desire for distance and caring for their aging parent.

Performances continue through Oct. 29. Tickets are priced at $39-$79. La Comedia Dinner Theatre is located at 765 W. Central Ave., Springboro. For tickets or more information, visit

About the Author