UW Snowy Range Summer Theatre Presents 'Swingtime Canteen'
The Snowy Range Summer Theatre season celebrates its 61st year with the University of Wyoming production of the Off-Broadway musical hit, “Swingtime Canteen,” a family-friendly 1940s-style USO show that will run nightly June 19-21 and June 26-28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Park band shell.
Tickets cost $10 for the public and $7 for students, senior citizens and children over 5. Discounts are available for groups of 20 persons or more. For tickets and information, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts. The June 19 program is free to the community.
“Ongoing construction activities in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts have taken our traditional performance spaces offline this summer, which has given us the opportunity to work in another venue, Washington Park,” says director Leigh Selting.
“Because the show opens right before the Fourth of July, I thought ‘Swingtime Canteen,’ a nostalgic look at a USO-type tour for the troops, would be a fun avenue for using the band shell.”
“Swingtime Canteen” follows fading MGM star Marian Ames, who has had four flop films in a row and is being put out to pasture by her studio. But this is 1944 and no time for self-pity. So, Marian gathers up her gal pals from the Hollywood Canteen and heads for London to entertain the troops.
Joining her are Jo Sterling (her stand-in on 17 pictures), her skittish niece Katie Gammersflugel, solid as a rock piano-playing riveter Topeka Abotelli, and leggy chorine Lilly McBain. The gals sing more than 30 vintage classics from WWII for a rip-roaring canteen show. Laughter, tears, emotional fireworks, air raids and a celebration of women during the war punctuate this hilarious and heartwarming story.
Songs include: "Don't Fence Me In," "I'll Be Seeing You," "Sing Sing Sing," "How High the Moon," "I Don't Want to Walk without You," "Sentimental Journey," "Apple Blossom Time,” a fast paced, 12-song Andrews Sisters medley and many more.
“The city of Laramie has been great to work with, and we’re really pleased to be able to offer a free performance of ‘Swingtime Canteen’ on June 19 -- opening night -- to the community,” Selting says. “We hope everyone turns out, brings friends and spreads the word.”
“Swingtime Canteen” will go on a statewide tour to Riverton, Rock Springs, Lander and Dubois June 23-25. The tour is sponsored by the Department of Theatre and Dance and UW Cultural Outreach.
“Next summer, we hope to be back to our full season of three shows and the dance festival and to welcome everyone to our new performance spaces” Selting says.
The UW production will be choreographed by guest choreographer, dancer, director and Broadway performer Blair Bybee; and will feature actors Brianna Cordova, Nicole Knox, Anne Mason, Amber McNew and Caitlin Monaghan. The musical will be accompanied by a live band directed by Brandon Sterling and featuring Mike Peterson, Mike Richards, Luke Woodburry, Jeff Woral and Jeremiah Wright.
“You'll love it!” wrote a reviewer in the New York Times. “The chin-up spirit, the great old songs. A rendition of ‘I'll Be Seeing You’ that could tear your heart out, and a ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ that has the place jumping."
The New York Post added, "A must see! A must enjoy!”
Performers rehearse a scene for the University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance performance of “Swingtime Canteen” that can be seen June 19-21 and June 26-28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Park band shell. (Donald P. Turner Photo)