By Beki Pineda
SISTERS OF SWING – Written by Beth Gilliland and Bob Beverage; Directed by Nick Sugar. Produced by Town Hall Arts Center (2450 West Main, Littleton) through May 6, 2018. Tickets available at 303-794-2787 or townhallartscenter.org.
A few years back, I spoke of the Andrews Sisters to a young actor. His response was, “Who are they?” My thought was, “You poor thing – to not have known the music of the Andrews Sisters.” Now those who did not grow up with this music and have only heard it covered by current singers have a wonderful opportunity to revisit the Sisters’ life and music. What fun to revisit Patty, LaVerne and Maxene in the current production at Town Hall. The three girls who are singing the roles – Eden Kaye, Katrina Kuntz and Alison Mueller – are much prettier than the original sisters and sing just as well.
The miracle of close harmony is one of those things only understood by those who are capable of performing it. The rest of us stand in awe of the skillful and seemingly effortless blending of three voices into one. I can only imagine the hours of rehearsal it took to create these beautiful three-part harmonies. Eden Kaye as the blonde Patty, the youngest, is the funniest and spunkiest of the girls. The role of LaVerne, the independent brunette sister, goes to Katrina Kuntz, while Alison Mueller plays big sister and surrogate mother Maxene. Separate personalities that become one voice when they sing.
Their music was – for the most part – as lively as their personalities and helped raise the spirits of soldiers and sailors during WWII through USO tours. Who can forget “Bie Mir Bist Du Schon”, “Rum and Coca Cola”, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”, and the iconic “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. Even if perhaps you’ve not heard the original versions, you’ve heard other singers cover their songs from Wayne Newton to Bette Midler. This show will also introduce you to songs from the era you’ve probably never heard like “Six Jerks in a Jeep”, “Corns for my Country”, and “Three Little Fishes” (one of the first songs I learned to play on a piano). I especially liked the way the script handled the difficulties that arose later in their careers and their end of life issues as one by one the family dissolves.
Additional doses of humor is supplied by Town Hall favorite Scott McLean playing multiple roles including a Carmen Miranda type dancer and a little Dutch girl, as well as adding his own voice to a few of the songs.
The pit band under the direction of Donna Kolpan Debreceni backs up and enhances the girls’ singing. The set designed by Douglas R. Clarke provides a lean and clean platform for the production. The costumes designed by Linda Morken provide some slick on-stage changes and snappy uniforms.
A WOW factor of 8.5!