By Steve Holt
The Gold Standard Arts Festival comes by its name honestly. There’s gold in this extravaganza of entertainment running from April 24th to May 1st on the Upper West Side. And the performers themselves are in their golden age, up to and including the Broadway legend Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler On The Roof), who’ll be showing off a new short play and turning 98 during the festival.
The dazzling week kicks off on Sunday the 24th with a jazz brunch at Stand Up NY, and then covers the gamut of popular art forms, all created by performers aged 50 or over: There will be cabaret with Steve Ross; standup comedy starring Judy Gold (there’s that word again!); a matinee and evening of short plays; and a weekend-long film fest-within-a-fest, including The Last Laugh, with Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and the late Gilbert Gottfried.
The festival’s presenting partner is Goddard Riverside, joined by Encore NYC, Stand Up NY, and New Plaza Cinema.
Festival co-directors, Upper West Siders Caytha Jentis and Eileen Katz know something about the tribulations of being a creative artist past age 50. For one thing, the experienced film producers’ Amazon Prime Comedy, The Other F Word, explored how women of a certain age react to life’s challenges.
Funnily enough, as the pair moved into the 50+ demographic, they found the powers-that-be in show business less and less receptive to their ideas.
Says Katz, “It just didn’t make sense to us why, as experienced, established, successful people in the entertainment industry, we were coming up against a brick wall, when it came to pitching shows, or getting backing for projects.”
Rather than wallow in bitterness, they decided to create the Festival.
Jentis adds, “In this time of inclusion and diversity, we felt we needed to recognize older people in the arts. And we wanted to do that as a celebration. We’ve been able to curate such great artists, and that’s what’s so wonderful about the Upper West Side; it’s really is a hotbed for creatives.”
You can get complete details, and tickets, at https://goddard.org/goldstandard/