Crow's Feet Podcast

Alicia Littman: Never Too Late To Dream

March 13, 2024 Crow's Feet Season 3 Episode 5
Alicia Littman: Never Too Late To Dream
Crow's Feet Podcast
More Info
Crow's Feet Podcast
Alicia Littman: Never Too Late To Dream
Mar 13, 2024 Season 3 Episode 5
Crow's Feet

Meet Alicia Littman, the quintessential New Yorker, constantly reinventing herself and, at 82, star of her own one-woman cabaret show, "Senior Living." Alicia drove a taxi, designed clothing in her tiny Greenwich Village apartment, sold advertising for the New York Times and now sells high-end apartments in Manhattan. But her real love is theater. She attended a professional school for children, starred in every high school production, and snagged a featured role in a community theater production of The Pajama Game, singing and dancing the legendary “Steam Heat” number. Alicia never made it to Broadway, but even with a few replacement parts, she’s still a babe — sassy, smart, and not afraid to make fun of herself.

Support the Show.

Crow's Feet Podcast +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript

Meet Alicia Littman, the quintessential New Yorker, constantly reinventing herself and, at 82, star of her own one-woman cabaret show, "Senior Living." Alicia drove a taxi, designed clothing in her tiny Greenwich Village apartment, sold advertising for the New York Times and now sells high-end apartments in Manhattan. But her real love is theater. She attended a professional school for children, starred in every high school production, and snagged a featured role in a community theater production of The Pajama Game, singing and dancing the legendary “Steam Heat” number. Alicia never made it to Broadway, but even with a few replacement parts, she’s still a babe — sassy, smart, and not afraid to make fun of herself.

Support the Show.

Alicia Littman  00:08

(Excerpt from live show) The most popular place to meet men is at Home Depot. So I'm thinking of getting down to West 23rd. Figure out which aisle would best serve my needs. I’m eighty-one, what are you gonna do? (Laughter)

Voice Over  00:30

This is Crow's Feet, a place where we ponder the question: Are these our golden years? Or does aging just suck? Well, yes, getting older is not for the faint-hearted. But aging also brings wisdom and humor, a finely tuned perspective on life. In our podcast, you'll meet writers and others rethinking our later years, people who inspire us to reimagine our future.

Melinda Blau  00:59

Hi, I'm Melinda Blau. Welcome to today's Crow's Feet podcast.

Announcer from Pangea  01:04

And now Pangea is very pleased to present Alicia Littman, Senior Living. (Applause)

Melinda Blau  01:11

She waits before stepping into the spotlight the crowded Pangea, an out of the way, supper club in the East Village is small but adoring. Alicia gives herself a good 30 seconds to savor the electricity of making an entrance. The applause and catcalls grow louder as she finally steps out of the darkness. She's a sexy brunette with flyaway hair. Her pretty face framed by glittering diamond-like earrings.   

Alicia Littman  01:40

(Singing) Good times and bad times. I've seen them all, and my dear, I'm still here.

Melinda Blau  01:47 

(musical background of Senior Living show)

Alicia has driven a cab, sold advertising for the New York Times, and now sells high end apartments in Manhattan. On stage she sells her songs, punctuating her pattern with bittersweet memories, sharp humor and the wisdom of a life long lived. She's been around and it suits her.

Alicia Littman

(singing) So I’m here.

Melinda Blau

If this is Senior Living, we all want to take notice.

Alicia Littman  02:18

(Singing) I’ve run the gamut A to Z,.Three cheers and dammit c'est la vie. I got through all of last year

and I like it here. But Lord knows at least I was there and I'm here! I’m still here! Luck goes. Here! (Applause)

You know, when somebody starts with “I'm still here”, opens a show with that instead of closing with it, she'd better be either good enough to follow it up with a hell of an hour of songs, good songs, or just old enough to get away with it. I'm betting you'll all agree with me that I'm a little bit of both. (Applause)

Melinda Blau  03:22

I'm sitting and talking to Alicia Littman. What did you just call yourself Alicia?

Alicia Littman  03:27

Terry, my middle name.

Melinda Blau  03:29

But is that your stage name?

Alicia Littman  03:31


Melinda Blau  03:32

And when did you start using it?

Alicia Littman  04:03 

Today. (Laughter).

Melinda Blau

I have to say upfront, Alicia is a neighbor in my building in New York. And so we know a lot of people in common but not well.We just pass in the hallways. And I ran into Joey and Joey told me that them too had gone to the same drama school as kids. And I can't remember the name of it.

Alicia Littman

Charlie Lowe's Studios.

Melinda Blau

That's right.

Alicia Littman

For children.  

Melinda Blau

Right. How old were you?

Alicia Littman

I was a kid. I don't know. About 12 years old. I traveled from Brooklyn on the train by myself. And I used to go for two hours tap dancing and two hours singing.

Melinda Blau  04:14

And did your mother push that or did you want it?

Alicia Littman  04:18

Ah well ,I know she set me up. I was a terrific tap dancer. Terrific. So you just did that on your own. You watch TV as a kid and, (Music and sound of tapping) you know, from Brooklyn, I mean, that was a big trip for a kid. A young teenager traveling by myself from Brooklyn. Get on the Sea Beach train and get off. Now, you should know Charley Lowe’s Studios was located in the CBS building where, at 52nd and Broadway in the building right above the theater. The CBS theater. But I did it every Saturday morning and I loved it. I loved tap dance. I love dancing. 

Melinda Blau  05:03

Did you hope to get a part in something? Did you do it in school, you know,?

Alicia Littman  05:07

Not at that age and then I wound up not tap dancing but singing in high school and I would sing performances, which, you know, made fun of all the teachers and the principal in all that. Actually, that was the first place that I heard show music, because otherwise we just listened to regular pop music on the radio. I did one thing, this has nothing to do with show music. I did one thing to the old Ajax. its Ajax (bom bom) The foaming cleanser (da da boda bom bom bom) 

(Old Ajax commercial playing)

We had no lyrics, you know, for it but I did it because I had a voice that could go low. And we also had in the show I don't know the name of the song from My Fair Lady when they're at, when they're at Ascot. (musical excerpt from My Fair Lady) Yeah, I love that. And I said, wow, where is that from? And then I found that it was a Broadway show. I'm not even sure if I had seen a Broadway show at that point yet. If I had, I saw one show that an English teacher Mr. Naman, who I adored, he took us to see, of all things, A Diary of Anne Frank as a first Broadway show. That's a toughie, you know, yeah.

Melinda Blau  06:43

Remember the first musical you saw? Mine was Call Me Madam with Ethel Merman.

Alicia Littman  06:49

No, I did not see that. My mother, Lil Littman, millinery designer supreme, I have to tell you. Everybody in the neighborhood wore her designs on the Jewish holidays and all the ladies had my mother's hats on, with the veils. I mean, I grew up with the veils, and the feathers.

Melinda Blau  07:05

So that's kind of show-businessy

Alicia Littman  07:08

What was the question? Oh I’ve forgotten. 

(Singing from show) Memory. What became of my short term? I remember the old days. I was sharper back then. If I eat fish and do the crosswords every day, will my brain cells roll again?


Melinda Blau  07:42

The question. Now I forgot the question because I didn’t write it down. No, I know what it was. Yes. What was the first Broadway show you saw? The first musical?  

Alicia Littman  07:50I 

I don't know. My mother, I have a sister, I had a sister, a younger sister who was special needs. And my mother worked feverishly for an organization, the Mayfair League to raise money for cerebral palsy. And one of the ways they did that, at that time, all these organizations, charitable organizations, they would have luncheons and Broadway shows. And so I think probably the first musical I saw with my mom and one of these events and it might have been I Can Get it for You Wholesale with Barbra Streisand. Or Milk and Honey with Molly Picon. 

Melinda Blau  08:29

Oh my God.

Alicia Littman  08:30

That might have been the first one.

Melinda Blau

Okay, let me get back to Barbra Streisand. Yeah, because you obviously saw that.

Alicia Littman

Yes, I don't know if it was before or after. But I saw her on The Ed Sullivan Show one Sunday night, and I was blown away.

Barbra Streisand

(Singing) The sky was blue and high above, the moon was new, and so was love. This eager heart of mine was singing, lover where can you be?

Alicia Littman

And yes, I was very influenced by Barbra. I thought I couldn't be Barbra Streisand. I had a good singing voice. And I don't know, yes, I related to her. Yeah, and of course she came from Brooklyn and I came from Brooklyn. Different high schools. I don't know is she’s my age, or is she a little bit younger or older?

Melinda Blau

She's probably about, my guess is that she’s your age. 

Alicia Littman


Melinda Blau  09:22

So which high school did you…

Alicia Littman  09:25


Melinda Blau

And where did she go?

Alicia Littman

She went to Erasmus. Larry King went, a lot of people went to Lafayette.

Melinda Blau

A lot of show people came out of Brooklyn.

Alicia Littman


 Melinda Blau  09:30

In fact, we're both two New York broads. We love the city. (music) I love New York. And what I loved about your show was that you did it at the age that you are. You said I'm going to write a one woman show. And I know that a whole lifetime preceded that so when you sat down to write it, what goes through your mind when you, say I'm gonna write this show? It's kind of, what was the name of the show, first of all?

Alicia Littman

Senior Living

Melinda Blau

Senior Living. You opened with I'm still here, which was a really favorite part for me.

Alicia Littman  10:14

With all due respect. I had done a few of the shows about my, you know, my life early on. But I had not done anything for some seven years. During that seven years, obviously, I got older, and I was surprised to say gee, you know, I hit eighty-one. I said, wow, this is not so bad. 

(excerpt from live show) My life is pretty darn good for an old broad. I felt vibrant and engaged. I had a coterie of wonderful, loyal friends. I was successful in business, and I had a closet full of wonderfully new stylish clothes that I purchased during the pandemic when ordering online became my newest favorite hobby. Even the little dip in my IRA, unnerved me only momentarily. So here we are, I felt the urge to share. (laughter and applause).

So I decided to do a show and sharing my positive take on being an octogenarian, but I was having a hard time getting started with the story. So I decided to hire a director. So my director suggested I'm still here. I said, but that usually closes a show. Ah well that's what will make it interesting. You will open the show with it. (singing) Good times, bad times. I've seen 'em all, and my dear, I’m still here. Plush velvet  sometimes, sometimes just pretzels and beer. But I'm here.

Melinda Blau  12:04

When you talk about the show, all the songs, all the patter, it's mind blowing.

Alicia Littman  12:13


Melinda Blau

And then on top of that, you have to sing it well. 

Alicia Littman

Yep. Well, you never sing a song. You're always performing a song as if it's an act in a play. You never just sing a song because you don't connect. People don't connect. That would be like just telling them the lyrics, you know, and even if you speak the lyrics, you probably would speak them with more meaning than if you just sing a song.


Melinda Blau  12:32

Did you learn that in this Miss Paul somebody's drama school for children? 

Alicia Littman  12:36

You know, where I learned that. Again, many years ago, I say muchos annos, I took a workshop in Toba Feld shoes apartment on the Upper West Side and the name of the workshop was “the song as an act in a play”. You always have to have a context. Who you’re singing it to, why you’re singing it and all that. I mean, you always sort of feel you pick songs that you really relate to the lyrics. But even if you relate to the lyrics, you really need more context, to make it more authentic. And that was the first time in that workshop that I adapted that point of view.

Voice Over  13:28

You're listening to Crow's Feet, a podcast that reminds us we're never too old to shine. I'm Melinda Blau and my guest is Alicia Littman. Stay tuned, we're gonna hear more of Senior Living. Alicia’s hilarious, heartful and hopeful one woman show.

Melinda Blau

So when you look at your life today, and you look at, you’re eighty-two or you're getting to eighty-two?

Alicia Littman  13:55

Actually, I'm getting to eighty-three now.

Melinda Blau  13:57

Oh my god. So seriously, is this what you imagined eighty-three to be or…

Alicia Littman  14:03

No, I had no idea what eighty-three was gonna be. It's just a continuation of my life. 

Melinda Blau


Alicia Littman

You know, I was working with a new piano player the other day and I was telling him about the show I just did, and it was about my being in my eighties. And he looks at me, he says, really? He said, I'm stunned. He said, I thought you were younger than I am. I said, how old are you, Mark?" He says I'm seventy-three. I thought you were in your sixties. I said, well keep thinking. Keep thinking that, you know.

(Excerpt from live show) I'm slow to get attached. When my second husband Alan passed away, we were together for twenty-five years. I just didn't think of hopping on to a dating site to find a replacement. I thought he was rather irreplaceable. Now that I might consider dating again. I just heard on the news. That Match is losing a ton of money. Subscribership is down and that the most popular place to meet men is at Home Depot. So I'm thinking of getting down to West 23rd. Figure out which aisle would best serve my needs. (laughter) Truth be told, the older I get, the less I worry about dating. Okay,(singing) don't ask the lady what the lady did before. Ask what the lady's doing now.

So, I don't feel like the number of the age sounds. 

Melinda Blau

Right, right

Alicia Littman

We all had visions, when we had grandmothers with the little bun in the back with the gray hair they have. I don't feel that. I feel that this is a continuation of my life, with the, you know, some of the added problems that come with a body that is eighty-three years old. You know a torn meniscus is an age appropriate injury for an eighty-three year old person.

Melinda Blau  16:06

I remember doctor telling me thats at fifty when I first got arthritis, it's an age appropriate


Alicia Littman

Yeah, I hate that term

Melinda Blau

know I know. 

Alicia Littman  16:19

It’s in a way a little bit dismissive. The thing is this: because of my energy and my talents and all that most so many people that I knew were sure that I really belonged in show business.

Melinda Blau  16:42


Alicia Littman

It's a career you know, instead of the New York Times instead of being a real estate broker I belonged in show business and so I would’ve,, I would say, girl, get out.

Melinda Blau

Oh this is to your younger self here. 

Alicia Littman

Girl, get out. You got it. Believe in it. Yeah, more than you do. Yeah, that would be it.

Melinda Blau

You couldn't have put that show on if you didn't believe it.

Alicia Littman  16:52

That show when you do a cabaret show, you're creating something yourself. If I really believed it, I'd be out there auditioning. That would be the deal.

Melinda Blau  17:01

You did a show about New York, like a love-hate relationship with New York.

Alicia Littman  17:06

Confessions of a New Yorker is the name of it.

Melinda Blau  17:11

Oh, that's what it is.

Alicia Littman

Yeah, by Portia Nelson. 

Melinda Blau 

But you do another New York song in Senior Living that I never heard. But love.

Alicia Littman  17:19

(singing) Every morning when I wake up in the city, I can hardly wait to get outside my door. And I find the elevator isn't running. And of course, I'm on the 37th floor by the time I hit the street. My blood is boiling.But I’m feeling great. That's because I'm in hate/ love with New York.

Melinda Blau  17:48

In New York, New York there’s a line of, I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps. Right? 

Alicia Littman

That is New York.

Melinda Blau  18:40

That's true.

Alicia Littman 

And it's the spirit of New York. You almost never sleep.

Melinda Blau

Yeah we sleep, but we’re always, you know.  

Alicia Littman

(Minor crashing from live show). Whoa! I'd like to say that was a mic drop and that I did it on purpose, like some hip hop star. But hey, wrong generation. I picked up podcasting in my late seventies. Not to worry though, I'm going to leave you with a bonus. Alicia singing a song that to me captures the sass and sensibility of a woman who's made it to eighty-three, knows what she wants and plans to keep going. (Applause).Now almost every day I hear some kind friends, say Ali dear, I think you’re much too stout. And right off they suggest some diet they think best.Well they made me sick and I would say cut it out. Get a life. I don't want to get thin. No, I don't want to get thin. Why should I, when I’m okay the way I am? I know I got a lot of what I got. My friends love it. They’re not vegetarians. They eat meat and plenty of it. And I don't want to reduce. Furthermore, What's the use? The boys, they follow me around like Mary’s lamb. Now the girls who go on dieting, get on my nerves. If you want to keep your husband straight,  you got to show more. I don't want to get thin. You can laugh, you can grin,but I’m doing very well the way I am. Now I'll tell you very frankly, I weigh 153, well, I don't know, maybe 170. You know from birth to age eighteen, a girl needs good parents. From eighteen to thirty-five, she needs good looks, then thirty-five to fifty-five, she needs a great personality. After fifty-five on up, she needs cash. 

Oh I’ll tell you very frankley, I weigh 153, but, many a sunny boy would like to bounce upon my knee. So why should I get thin? Bring that Tracy bag in. So’s I'm doing very well. The way I'm really very well, I am. Thank you very well. Forget the broccoli, pass the butter. (Applause and laughter)

Audrey 20:28

You know, you have to think that she's eighty-one years old. And she really worked hard on this and she creates this patter and songs. And she's just so delightful and nice to listen to and funny and heartfelt and just really enjoyable.

Melinda Blau  20:43

That's great. Thank you.


You’re welcome

Melinda Blau  

Okay, now I'm talking to Audrey, who also went to Alicia’s show.

Audrey 20:52

It’s the same building as Alicia, and we've become very close friends. This show was just dynamite. Fun. It was entertaining. It was poignant in certain ways. Her songs were so unusual. And that's what made the show so special.

Melinda Blau  21:20

Did the show, did the songs feel like Alicia? 

Audrey 21:23

Totally. They were totally her. It's not just the voice. It's the whole aura. Her cabaret thing. And her patter was quite good too. She was very funny.

Melinda Blau  21:39

A lot of people are commenting on the fact that she's eighty-one and she did the show but this is no big deal to you, Audrey, right? Because you are?

Audrey 21:47

Eighty-six. She was nervous, but I kept saying you have to do it. And it made her happy. And it made so many people happy.

Announcer from TV Series 22:02

There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them. (Music)

Melinda Blau  22:16

Thanks for listening to Crow's Feet. Today's episode was produced by me, Melinda Blau, with help from our executive producer Nancy Peckingham. And the Crow's Feet team. George “Ace” Acevedo, Betsy Alan, Lee Bench, Jean Feldeisen, Jan M. Flynn, Nancy Franklin, and Jane Trombley. Editing and sound design by Rich Halten. Our original theme music was written and performed by Rand Bishop. (Sax music)

Voice Over  23:13

Thanks for joining us on this episode of Crow's Feet: Life as We Age. Don't miss any of our great stories. Subscribe to Crow's Feet wherever you get your podcasts. And be sure to tell your friends and family to give a listen too. and leave a rating or review. You can read more Crow's Feet stories online at So, until next time, remember to savor every moment.

As John Lennon said, “Count your age by friends, not years”.

(Closing music)