Proving that you’re never too old to say “Yes” to life, the Kander and Ebb musical featured the denizens of a retirement home gleefully turning to larceny.
You know the songs even if you've never heard of 70, Girls, 70. That's because first Liza Minnelli popularized “Yes,” the anthem to seizing life (recently heard in Netflix's GLOW, sung by Kevin Cahoon) in Liza With a Z, and the revue And the World Goes ’Round returned “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” to musical lovers' attention.
Revived in 2006 as part of City Center's Encores! series, the original production of the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical lasted 35 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre after it opened on Broadway April 15, 1971. Featuring a cast that could rival that of Follies in terms of bygone glory (including torch singer Lillian Roth, Hans Conreid, Tony winner and One Life to Live star Lillian Hayman, and Barefoot in the Park scene stealer Mildred Natwick as ringleader Ida), the show found a group of senior citizens robbing fur stores in order to secure the funds necessary to buy their rundown retirement home.
The show may be best remembered today for—in addition to those Kander and Ebb songs—being the final show of David Burns, who collapsed on stage of a heart attack during a preview performance out of town and died shortly afterward. Nevertheless, the show went on to open on Broadway, earning Natwick a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical at the age of 66—more proof that age has nothing to do with ability if you're willing to say “yes I can, yes I will.”