A Musical Tribute to The Andrews Sisters

A World Premier Revueno exir=t cafe

Directed and Choreographed By David Heimann

Conceived in Conjunction With Fred Anzevino

Musical Arrangements By Aaron Benham

Musical Direction By Alex Newkirk

Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre at No Exit Cafe, Chicago

“We were such a part of everybody’s life in the Second World War. We represented something overseas and at home – a sort of security.”
– Patty Andrews

Get Swept Away by a Time That’s Lost, but Not Forgotten

Whether or not you’ve ever heard of the Andrews Sisters, I’m positive you’ve heard their music in one form or another. Their music and style has infused itself into American pop culture and there’s no shaking it loose. Although the younger generation didn’t grow up with the Andrews Sisters music, they’ve most likely heard their grandparents playing them or in the background of old cartoons and period films. A Musical Tribute to The Andrews Sisters is a thoroughly entertaining revue, making old and young feel nostalgic. Between the dimly lit cabaret, the set, lighting, beautiful hair, make-up, costumes, stoic band, and knockout performers, I felt as if I had stepped into a time machine. The Theo Ubique staff worked extremely hard to make it an immersive evening, going so far as to change the centerpieces on our tables between the acts.

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The Andrews Sisters had their first major breakthrough in 1937 with Bei Mir Bist Du Schön, but they exploded onto the scene and into the hearts of America during WWII. America had experienced its first major attack on American soil; evil was permeating through Europe; and young American men were going off to war. America needed an escape and they were able to find that solace and support in the Andrews Sisters.

The show begins on a USO tour on the USS Anywhere; MC’d by the absolutely entertaining William Lucas, who served as an analog for Bob Hope. The first act is filled with up beat hits and the escapism that was greatly desired at the time. The Andrews Sisters: Patty (Sarah Larson) the young energetic blond, Maxene (Jordan Yentz) the brunette with an impressive range, and LaVerne (Casi Maggio) the oldest, humorous red head, pledged themselves to supporting the troops. During WWII they volunteered their free time to entertaining the troops. In 1945, they went on an eight-week USO tour. The first act includes:

In The Mood (Garland, 1938)
Pennsylvania 6-5000 (Sigman, Gray, 1940)
Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (Brown, Tobia, & Sept), 1942)
Chattanooga Choo Choo (Gorden & Warren, 1943)
I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo (Gordon & Warren, 1943)
Around The World
Ciribiribin (Tiochet & Pestaloozza, 1898)
Rum and Coca-Cola (Invader & Belasco, 1945)
Tico Tico (Abreu, 1917)
South American Way (McHugh-Dubin, 1939)
Yodelin’ Jive (Tunstall, 1939)
The Strip Polka (Mercer, 1942)
That Ain’t Hay (Styne, 1941)
Armed Forces Salute
Three Little Sisters (Taylor & Mizzy, 1942)
The Caisson Song- Army (Gruber, Bryden, Danford, 1908)
Anchors Aweigh- Navy (Miles & Zimmerman, 1887)
Marines’ Hymn- Marines (Christian, 1917)
Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning (Berlin, 1918)
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (Raye & Prince, 1941)

no exit cafe

In the second act they transport the audience into a swanky 1940s/50s nightclub. The act was filled with ballads, up beat songs, and a whole section of polkas, which epitomize a grand night out on the town. The second act includes:

Oh, Johnny! Oh, Johnny! (Rose & Coleman, 1939)
Straighten Up and Fly Right (Cole & Mills, 1941)
Don’t Fence Me In (Fletcher & Porter, 1944)
Nice Work If You Can Get It (Gershwin & Gershwin, 1937)
I Can Dream, Can’t I? (Kahal & Fain, 1949)
Shoo Shoo, Baby (Moore, 1943)
Accentuate the Positive (Arlen, 1944)
Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Cahn, Chaplin & Secunda, 1938)
Say Si Si (Stillman & Lecuona, 1940)
Polka Section
Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel)(Vejvoda, 1927)
Pennsylvania Polka (Lee, 1942)
Too Fat Polka (MacLean & Richardon, 1947)
I’ll Be Seeing You (Kahan & Fain, 1938)

no exit cafe

The performers were absolutely spectacular. They were as practiced as if it was their 500th show, but as fresh as if it were their first. It was a wonderful treat to hear this style of music in a live setting instead of through the “tin-can” microphones of the past. The band played magnificently, especially the humble and virtuosic horn player. Their playing was balanced and respectful of the singers’ voices, never overpowering. The band showed they had chops without showing off. Director & Choreographer David Heimann made excellent use of the small stage and cabaret. The set, although minimal, was designed for extensive use. Containing hidden platforms and curtains, the space was used in a wide variety of ways. Through the superb lighting, beautiful costumes, and wigs, vignettes were created that looked like glamorous photos from the 1940s.

Step back in time, have a grand ‘ole night on the town, and go see A Musical Tribute to The Andrews Sisters. Whether or not you’re familiar with the music, you will absolutely be entertained. Grab a date (top hat optional), get a drink, sit back and be swept away.

Highly Recommended

Michael Gerrity

Date Reviewed: June 5th, 2014

Jeff Recommended
For more info check out the A Musical Tribute to The Andrews Sisters page at theatreinchicago.com
At Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre at No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, IL, call 800-595-4849, www.theo-u.com, tickets $30-$34, Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm, running time is approximately 120 minutes with 1 intermission, through July 27th, 2014