Review: Infinity’s ‘Sisters of Swing’ captivates with catchy tunes and a stellar cast
Jun 11, 2012 02:39PM
● By Anonymous
Calling Sisters of Swing, currently playing at Infinity Theatre, a “toe-tapping good time” might be a cliché, but sometimes clichés are simply the best way to describe an experience.
The musical tells the story of The Andrews Sisters, a musical trio hailing from Minnesota in the late 1930s and early 1940s. They rose to stardom with songs such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Don’t Sit under the Apple Tree,” hosting radio shows, entertaining overseas troops, and recording with the likes of Bing Crosby. Their personal life, however, wasn’t quite as rosy, particularly in the later years, as the sisters split up, reunited, and dealt with familiar issues such as marriage, divorce, and death.
Though the cast of Sisters of Swing is small, there wasn’t a weak link to be seen. Lynsey Buckelew (LaVerne) and Jackie Washam (Maxene) both give stellar performances as the two elder sisters, but my eye was continually drawn to the youngest sister, Patty, played by Julia Burrows. As a trio, the three nailed the tight harmonies that the sisters were known for and convincingly showed the good and the bad of living and working with siblings.
Steve Gagliastro, referred to just as “Man” in the program, really stole the show by playing a variety of male characters (though, at first, I was a little confused that he was changing character from scene to scene. It was quickly resolved, though). Kudos to a man who will dress up in drag not once, but twice in one show (the second time, his heels were higher than I would able to walk in!) and go out of his way to make the audience roar with laughter. Jonathan D. Cable rounded out the cast as Vic Schoen, the trio’s musical arranger, whose main job was to tickle the ivories as a member of the band onstage. Sisters of Swing is a fast-paced show, jumping from year to year quickly, touching on major life events rapidly. If not done right, it could seem hectic or confusing, but luckily, this production was done right. However, I would have liked to see a little bit stronger choreography, perhaps some tap-dancing that goes hand-in-hand with the style of music the sisters sing. (There was a hint of tapping in the second act, but because the ladies weren’t wearing tap shoes, I missed the click-clack of the dance number.)
An evening with the Sisters of Swing will bring you back in time, even if (like me) you weren’t alive to experience it the first time. You’ll laugh, you’ll tap your feet and bounce your knees in rhythm to the music, and the show’s ending might just have you with a tear in your eye. I’m looking forward to Infinity’s next show, Dames at Sea, opening in mid-July for another beautiful evening of professional theatre.