Maryland performances including Theater, plays, ballet and opera
- Published on Sunday, 10 June 2012 15:57
- Written by Karen Gaspers
Three sisters become American success stories as they sing such classics as "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" and "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy" in the up-beat "Sisters of Swing," a musical about the famed Andrews sisters.
"Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters" written by Beth Gilleland and Bob Beverage, follows the lives of three of America's favorite performers who rose to stardom during the 1930s and 40s, while tracking the feuding and fighting that led to their downfall. It is a story that has been heard many times before: group starts as nothing, group achieves fame, group falls apart. But this musical focuses less on the individual developments of each of the sisters' lives, but on the music they made together, and how it changed America for the better.
While the scenes that fill in the life stories of the Andrews sisters jump forward in time every so often, there is still a very linear structure to the script. Starting when the girls are just children with dreams of being as big as the Boswell sisters, the audience jumps ahead through time, tracking their early successes and trips throughout Europe during World War II, when they perform for troops to raise morale. The only problem with the script comes in Act 2, where it seems as though Gilleland and Beverage tried to compress too much of the girls' lives into an hour, leaving the audience wanting some more details about the later years of the group.
With the story jumping around and skipping years at a time, it is evident that music is most certainly the focus of the production. The simple three-piece band offers more than enough accompaniment for the three stars of the show, Lynsey Buckelew (LaVerne), Jackie Washam (Maxene) and Julia Burrows (Patty). These ladies sing each song stunningly, harmonizing perfectly while performing the simple, yet equally entertaining choreography. Each of these actresses embody their characters so well that audiences will get caught up in the act, as it truly feels like you're watching the sisters belt out their greatest hits.
The show also features Steve Gagliastro as a character simply titled Man, though to call him anything less than the unsung hero of the performance is an insult. Gagliastro involves audience members in the performance quite often and some of the biggest laughs in the whole show come from Gagliastro's performances as women in "Beer Barrel Polka" and "Rum and Coca-Cola," each of which he performs not only in dresses and wigs, but in high-heeled shoes, a feat that cannot be commended enough.
"Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters" is a wonderful show with upbeat music that will serve as a history lesson for those without prior knowledge of the sisters or a trip down memory lane for those who were around during the sisters' heyday. In spite of the (at times) choppy script, the shining performers and fantastic music will send audiences home happy.
"Sisters of Swing" runs through July 1, 2012 (Thurs., Sat. and Sun. only), at The CTA Theatre Complex, Annapolis. The performance runs approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. Tickets are available at infinitytheatrecompany.com.
Mike Liberto is a drama major/English minor at Washington College, Chestertown, MD. When not acting, singing, or reading, Mike enjoys puppies, his girlfriend, and video games.