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The Andrews Brothers
a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Roger Bean

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 4503

SHOWING : September 27, 2013 - October 20, 2013

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A USO show is threatened with cancellation when a certain famous trio of singing sisters fails to show, and it’s up to three earnest and determined stagehands to go on with the show! Filled with over 25 songs made famous by the Andrews Sisters, the show includes the showstoppers "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Slow Boat to China," "Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree," and "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive." Mistaken identities and madcap adventures along with the music of an entire generation highlight this wonderful valentine to the heroes of World War II.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Dustin Lewis
Costumer Clint Horne
Peggy Rebecca Galen Crawley
Lawrence Christopher Lewis
Max Jeremy Varner
Patrick Tucker Weinmann
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REVIEWS

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A Smile from Ear to Ear
by playgoer
Saturday, October 5, 2013
4.0
Roger Bean’s script for "The Andrews Brothers" is a terribly creaky construct. In it, three 4F brothers are stagehands for the USO in the South Pacific during World War II. The Andrews Sisters are scheduled as the last act before a group of servicemen ship out, with pin-up queen Peggy Jones featured too. The scheduled backup singers are no-shows, so the brothers impersonate them. Then, when the Andrews Sisters have to cancel too, more impersonation is needed. The three brothers are each given a quirk, with the quirks hammered incessantly in act one. Lawrence is near-sighted. Max is clumsy. Patrick has a stutter. Act one also sets up a romance between Patrick and the smitten Peggy. If you left at intermission, you’d think this was a pretty sorry affair.

Then act two happens. This act shows the live performance of the purported Andrews Sisters. There’s a lot of silliness, a lot of physical comedy, and the clunky set-up from the first act finally pays off. As musical numbers follow one after another, with a bit of audience participation thrown in, enjoyment escalates. The second act works as a steamroller, paving over the pot-holed plot with a smooth surface of sheer delight.

The cast is responsible for much of the delight. Christopher Lewis plays the near-sighted Lawrence with dependable good humor and a terrific voice. Jeremy Varner plays Max with verve and spark, shining in some solo dance moments. Tucker Weinmann plays Patrick with a sweet amiability that keeps the audience rooting for him. Best of all is Galen Crawley as Peggy Jones. She has to play a stereotypical pin-up model, all good looks and posed stances, but she does it with such energy and enthusiasm that I was convinced she was having as rollicking a good time as the audience was.

Director/choreographer Dustin Lewis has filled the show with well-executed shtick. It’s a charmingly professional job, allowing the actors to shine while keeping the show moving along. Clint Horne’s costumes, George Deavours’ wigs, and John David Williams’ lighting all help to make the production look good. As always, Chuck Welcome’s scenic design is top-rate. It shows a temporary proscenium stage with the orchestra behind, bits of tropical greenery popping up at the marges. The only flaw I saw was the 11 stripes on the USO flags above the stage.

Musically, the production is a bit of a mixed bag. All the actors have very good voices, but the blend isn’t always what it might be. More problematic is the three-piece band (keyboard, drums, and sax/clarinet/trumpet). Their accompaniment of the vocals is fine, if a bit thin. The thinness really comes to the forefront in the overture and entr’acte, where it sometimes seems the keyboard and woodwinds are both playing harmony, with the melody apparently assigned to some unheard instrument. The production would be better off if the band weren’t highlighted in this way.

"The Andrews Brothers" isn’t a ground-breaking piece of material by any stretch of the imagination. It’s entertainment, targeted to an audience that might even be older than the subscription base of Stage Door Players. It’s silly fun played by a cast that has smiles ear to ear. By the end, each audience member has a smile from ear to ear too. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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