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SISTERS OF SWING Returns to The Stoneham Theatre June 30-July 24

Stoneham Theatre presents Sisters of Swing: the Story of the Andrews Sisters. Performances run June 30-July 24: Thurs. (7:30 pm), Fri. (8 pm), Sat. (4 pm & 8 pm), Sun. (2 pm). Tickets: $44-$48 regular admission; senior discounts apply; all student tickets $20. Student/senior discount matinees available. [Special pay-what-you-can Thursday performance: June 30.] Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham. Wheelchair accessible. For advance tickets and information, visit or call the Box Office at 781-279-2200 (hours Tues.-Sat., 1-6pm) or log onto www.stonehamtheatre.org.

Sisters of Swing sings out the triumphs and tribulations of LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty of the Andrews Sisters. For many, they were the definitive pin-up girls of their time; in reality, they were more often the vulnerable girls next door, eventually breaking up because of their differences. They worked their way up through the ranks with countless hits - "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Apple Blossom Time," "Rum and Coca Cola" - to name just a few. Dubbed "America's Wartime Sweethearts," they had a rousing impact on the morale of many a WWII GI and a world weary with war. Yet in the end, the Andrews Sisters paid a price for such fame.

"The wonderful thing was that we were together for so many years.
We dressed together, we slept together, we roomed together,
we went shopping together, and of course we rehearsed together.
We never separated."
(Maxene Andrews)

The Andrews Sisters sold over 90 million records. Nine of their albums went gold. They had more Top Ten hits than the Beatles or Elvis. And they are still proving to be one of the best-selling female vocal groups of all time.

Then there's the back story. Born in Minneapolis, the Andrews Sisters began their professional musical careers when their ages ranged from 16-22 years of age. Managed by an overbearing father, they got their start touring with the 55-piece Larry Rich Orchestra. By the mid-30's, they became an independent act, touring the Midwest, and performing in Vaudeville. After several years of living on the road, they had their first major success with "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön," which initially sold 350,000 copies and held Billboard's No.1 slot for five weeks. Within a very short while, it became the first million selling record for an all-female group. By the mid-50's, the Andrews Sisters were essentially done.

Sisters of Swing was first produced in Stoneham in 2008, becoming one of the best selling musicals in the theatre's history. [The theatre's recent production of 42nd Street is the only one to top that.] Sisters of Swing is a toe tapping tale energized by memorable tunes that launched three talented women into stardom. It is also a moving story that does not hesitate to reveal what lurks beneath all that glitters. This show goes beyond the ordinary to offer a unique perspective into these women as human beings, showing how the events of their lives shaped who they became to the rest of the world.

The original 2008 Stoneham Theatre cast, again directed by Bobby Cronin, returns with Laura DeGiacomo as Patty, Steve Gagliastro in multiple roles, Kerri Jill Garbis as LaVerne and Kimberly Robertson as Maxene. Musical Director Mario Cruz (keys) conducts the accompaniment featuring Rick Copeland (trombone), Tim Cote (trumpet), Heather Katz-Cote(reeds), Mick Lewander (drums), and Ben Stevens (bass). The creative design team includes Audra Avery (Set Designer), Jeff Adelberg (Lighting Designer), Kurt Hultgren (Costume Designer) and John Stone (Sound Designer).

Further background information:

Writers Beth Gilleland and Bob Beverage, along with Raymond Berg (musical arrangement and continuity), initially had their musical Sisters of Swing produced in St. Paul in 2002. By then two of the sisters were dead - LaVerne, the eldest, died in the 60's and Maxene in the early 90's. Patty, the youngest and considered the most charismatic of the three, is still alive, but lives a very reclusive life. Gilleland, Beverage, and Berg have their own back story in putting together this show, involving several years of researching a complicated history, interviewing countless individuals, and procuring the rights to all 20 songs highlighted in the production. During the time of creating Sisters of Swing, 14 concerns held the rights to the musical material. By 2011, several mergers had taken place. Negotiating the musical rights for this show has become an ongoing process.

The Andrews Sisters did not write their own material, but instead had many a Tin Pan Alley tune discovered and then arranged just for them. At one point there was a songwriting team at Decca Records devoted to writing their material. The songs of Sisters Of Swing represent an important part of the heyday of American Big Band Swing music and span the years from the mid-1930s through the 1940s and beyond. The vocal arrangements in the show are crafted to recreate the sisters' signature vocal sound. The music is interwoven with the script to portray the Andrews' musical career as a part of their real lives. Since its debut in St. Paul, Sisters of Swing has charmed and sold out to audiences in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Oregon, Indiana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina - and Stoneham, MA.

Bobby Cronin, NYC based award-winning composer/lyricist (W2ML, 'Til Death Do Us Part, Daybreak, etc...) and director returns to Stoneham to direct and choreograph Sisters of Swing, which was first produced there in 2008. His other directorial credits in Stoneham include The Sweepers, Pete ‘n Keely, The Who's Tommy, The Good War and Seven Rabbits On A Pole, as well as his musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol written with Angelyn Fullarton Benson.

Additional Events Connected to the Production:
-- Sisters of Swing Talkback:
Sunday, July 3, following the 2pm matinee at Stoneham Theatre. Join the artists who bring Sisters of Swing to life in a lively discussion of the play, the process, and all things theatrical.

-- Sisters of Swing in Rhode Island:
Following the run at Stoneham Theatre, the Sisters of Swing production will then move to the Park Theatre at the Rhode Island Center for the Performing Arts for four performances running from July 28th through the 31st. More information on the Park Theatre can be found at www.parktheatreri.com.

Special additional performances of Sisters of Swing:
-- Sisters of Swing will have three additional senior matinees held at 2 pm on Wednesdays July 6th, 13th, and 20th. Special senior matinee rates apply. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Box Office.

 


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