Friday, July 2, 2010

Roger Bean In Racine

The Racine Theatre Guild Presents The Andrews Brothers

By Russ Bickerstaff
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There’s no questioning Roger Bean’s ability to put together a charming musical revue. The mind behind such shows as The Marvelous Wonderettes and Route 66 has a proven track record for producing well-ballanced musicals with charm and style that mix popular songs arranged around a theme mixed with some not-so-popular period songs as well. Route 66 featured a generous mix of recognizable and not-so-recognizable oldies dedicated to the road. Lana Mae’s Honkt-Tonk Laundry featured an interesting mix of classic country oldies. Why Do Fools Fall In Love? featured teen love angst oldies and so on.

Roger Bean’s characters are loveably flat stereotypes that charm an audience through sheer simplicity. We identify with them because there is no complexity to get in the way of the audience/character connection. It would seem remarkably superficial if there wasn’t such a genuine heart to it that pulls it all together. We see the characters slide through a series of stresses that quite often culminate in a climactic concert at the end. It’s a really charming formula.

This month, The Racine Theatre Guild presents Bean’s The Andrews Brothers. The premise is simple: It’s 1945 and the Andrews Sisters are set to perform a USO show in the South Seas. They Sister’s costumes and equipment have shown-up, but the Sisters themselves can’t make it. A trio of stagehand brothers who share the last name of Andrews decide the show must go on with the help of a beautiful Mezzo-Soprano by the name of Peggy. The show, which debuted with the Milwaukee Rep a while ago, features ‘40’s pop including Rosie The Riveter, Mairzy Doats, The Beer Barrel Polka, Foogie=Woogie Bugle Boy and Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree.

The Racine Theatre Guild’s production of The Andrews Brothers runs July 16th-25th at RTG’s space on 2519 Northwestern Avenue in Racine.  

 

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