HUDSON — It's 1945 on a small Pacific island, and hundreds of GIs are getting ready to ship out for a major battle the following morning. But before they do, they're going to get a bang-up send-off by a big USO show, starring pinup girl Peggy Jones and the world famous singing Andrews Sisters.
Only one thing: The Andrews Sisters are nowhere to be seen, and it's only a couple of hours before the show is supposed to start. That means no rehearsal and perhaps no show.
That's the setup for The Andrews Brothers, a musical playing June 4 through July 3 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.
Perhaps as disappointed as the GIs is Peggy (Andrea Wright, Norwegian Cruise Lines), who was looking forward to making her big stage debut with the Andrews Sisters. That's when the three Andrews brothers, stagehands who have been traveling with and doing setups for the famous sisters, volunteer to rehearse with Peggy so she'll be ready when her big chance comes. The boys are all 4F, so they're doing their part helping with shows, and they know all the Andrews Sisters' songs.
There's flat-footed Max (Christoff Marse, Zach in A Chorus Line), who can sing the parts usually sung by Maxene; asthmatic Patrick (Matty Colonna, Lucas in The Addams Family), who can sing Patty's parts, and nearsighted Lawrence (Marc Ciemiewicz, Show Palace debut), who can fill in as LaVerne.
Peggy rehearses her opening act numbers (Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet), and the guys join her for some warm-up numbers. As often happens in stage musicals, Peggy quickly falls madly in love with Patrick and plots to get the other two brothers out of the picture so she can have him all alone (Slow Boat to China). Moments later, Lawrence and Max return with the bad news The real Andrews Sisters have been quarantined because of an outbreak of chickenpox. Will that mean no show?
Of course not, especially after Peggy catches the guys gussied up in the Andrews Sisters' costumes, singing the Andrews Sisters' songs. Why not be the Andrews Sisters for just one night — after all, it's to cheer up the boys who are going off to war.
That's when the high jinks start. Will the GIs get wise to the imposters? And what about Patrick's wheezing and sneezing? And will sight-challenged Lawrence fall off the stage? What about flat-footed Max's ability to swing and sway?
The Los Angeles Times said the show is "Pleasingly silly! No-holds-barred goofiness." It's likely to bring back good memories for veterans once entertained by USO performers.
For this special show, the Show Palace is bringing in a three-piece live band to accompany the 25 tunes in the show, said Jennifer Mara, business manager of the theater. The director/choreographer is Jared E. Walker, who played Gomez in The Addams Family and Vince Fontaine in Grease at the Show Palace. The music director is William Coleman, who just relocated to the Tampa Bay area from Oklahoma City, where he was co-director of a children's theater program for 15 years.