Swingtime Canteen
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Book by Linda Thorsen Bond, William Repicci and Charles Busch
SHOW TIMES: Thursday, May 16th
- Sunday, June 9, 2024

Wed & Thurs 7:30pm / Fri & Sat 8:00pm
Wed & Sun 2:00pm

Look out, Rosie the Riveter, these ladies can Swing!

It’s London, 1944. Join MGM star Marian Ames and her all-girl band from the Hollywood Canteen for the rip-roaringest canteen show of them all. Laughs, 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,” “How High the Moon,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” “Sentimental Journey,” and “Apple Blossom Time.”

Tickets are $60 for adults; $55 for seniors; $25 for students of all ages and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860.767.7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

First matinee performance will be Thursday, May 16th at 2pm.  Matinee added:  Tuesday, June 4th.

DID YOU KNOW?  Ivoryton Playhouse offers discounted tickets on Thursday nights!  On Thursday nights at 6:00pm, tickets for that night’s 7:30pm performance can be purchased for only $30.  Limit four tickets per person.  Tickets available at the box office only, for that performance only.  Subject to availability.
It is a mission of Ivoryton Playhouse to bring affordable, professional, high quality theatre experiences to our community

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Katie Barton* (Jo Sterling) is proud to return to the Ivoryton stage alongside the immensely talented ladies of Swingtime Canteen. She has appeared onstage at the Playhouse as Girl in ONCE, Tammy Wynette in Stand By Your Man and she had the privilege of directing last year’s Christmas show, Million Dollar Quartet Christmas. Katie has a degree in Musical Theatre from Birmingham-Southern College and trained as an acting apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville and Flat Rock Playhouse. Favorite roles: Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet (First Broadway National Tour, Norwegian Getaway, Las Vegas), June in Ring of Fire, and Josie in Proposals. After a 15 year career as an actor/musician on the road, Katie was proud to join the Ivoryton Playhouse family last year in the new role of Special Projects Coordinator. With two children under 3 years old, she and husband Ben Hope are hopeful for Connecticut to become their family’s forever home.

Marcy McGuigan* (Marian Aimes) is thrilled to return to the wonderful Ivoryton Playhouse team for this production of Swingtime Canteen. Recent Ivoryton roles include Baruska in ONCE and Mama in Stand By Your Man. This show has a special place in my heart. Charles Busch and Bill Repicci created a love letter to WWII, The Silver Screen and The Great American Song Book. Just shy of 30 years ago, I opened in the original Cast as Jo Sterling. Through the many workshops leading to opening night I had the great pleasure of working with some of the Best Leading Ladies of the Theatre. It was the learning experience of a lifetime. Here’s to You Linda Edwards, Ruth Williamson, Alison Fraser, Charles Busch and Mary Cleere Haran. Love to Mary Ann, Mikki, Kim, Debra, Jackie and Emily. I am so happy to hand the sticks to Katie and share the stage with this wonderful cast under the direction of Amy Jones.

 

Claire Marie Spencer* (Topeka Abotelli) is thrilled to be performing at Ivoryton Playhouse for the first time! Native of Dallas Texas, Claire received her BME from Dallas Baptist University and her graduate vocal performance degree from Southern Methodist University. She is a classically-trained pianist and harpist, as well as a choral conductor and accompanist. Experienced in both opera and MT, Claire has played Maria in The Sound of Music (A.D. Players at the George Theatre), Manuelita in Pepitò (The Dallas Opera at the Winspear), Emily in Ned Rorem’s Our Town, Eliza in My Fair Lady, Guinevere in Camelot, and Despina in Così fan tutte. When she is not performing, Claire teaches elementary music in NYC. She wants to dedicate this performance to her husband and parents, who are so endlessly supportive. Soli Deo Gloria.  www.clairemariespencer.com   @cmariespencer

 

Claire-Frances Sullivan* (Lilly McBain) is an NYC-based actor, singer, musician, and writer. Recently, she played Girl in ONCE in California (2023 Regional BroadwayWorld Award: Best Performer in a Musical), Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet in New York, and Alice Murphy in Bright Star in North Carolina. She’s a member of Actors’ Equity Association, The Ring of Keys, Maestra, and The Dramatists Guild. She gives her love and thanks to her family, friends, Jill at Broad Talent, and the Swingtime team!   www.clairefrancessullivan.com

 

Caitlin Witty* (Katie Gammersfugel) is grateful to be part of this season at Ivoryton!  National Tour: Acoustic Rooster (The Kennedy Center). Regional: Waitress (Muny), Alice Bliss (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Sister Act (Arrow Rock Lyceum), Jesus Christ Superstar (ACT of CT), The Little Mermaid (STL Variety Children’s Theatre), Newsies (Crane River Theatre).  Caitlin is a vocalist on the song Break The Chain as part of Eve Ensler’s V-Day Movement, and starred in Slovakia’s first English/Slovak film Stand Up.   Caitlin has her BFA from Webster University.  You often can find her serving fries and high notes at Ellen’s Stardust Diner.  It’s a gift to share the space with these women. All love.

 

THE BAND:

Kim Bonsanti (Muriel Kravis / Trumpet) was one of the original WACs in the off-Broadway production of Swingtime Canteen. Kim majored in trumpet performance at Manhattan School of Music and studied trumpet with William Vacchiano, Vincent Penzarella, Stephen Burns, Laurie Frink and Alan Raph. Kim has worked extensively as a freelance musician in the tri-state area. Kim is the Official Bugler for the Port Authority of NY and NJ Police Department and performs live, annually, on national television for the “reading of the names” 9/11 ceremonies. Kim recently was requested by the British Consulate to play for the inaugural voyage of The SS Daring. She performed at Paul Newman’s Hole-In The-Wall Gang Camp, playing for Carole King and Bernadette Peters.

Jordan Brint (Jeannie Pielmeier) Jordan’s initial introduction to music was through her brief stint as a violinist from the third to sixth grade. Upon deciding the instrument wasn’t large enough, she picked up a bass for the first time and hasn’t put it down. While she ultimately decided to pursue a degree in psychology through Brown University, her love of the instrument held firm. Since then, Jordan has been lucky enough to continue pursuing that passion by playing throughout the state and has formed some of her closest friendships and fondest memories in the process.

 

Mallory Kokus (Eleanor Fuchs / Reeds) has established herself as a freelance performer and music teacher throughout central CT. She is on faculty at the Hartt Community Division where she serves as instructor of saxophone. Mallory has extensive experience as a woodwind doubler and plays in musical theater pit orchestras across the state. She has worked at theaters such as Goodspeed Musicals, Playhouse on Park, Little Theater of Manchester, and many more. She is also a member of Flamingo Big Band and Foundry Saxophone Quartet. In addition to playing and teaching woodwind instruments, Mallory is a certified teacher of the early childhood music curriculum First Steps in Music. Mallory studied at Penn State (BS Music Education) and The Hartt School (MM Saxophone Performance). She is originally from southeastern Pennsylvania, but now lives in East Hampton, CT with her husband and three children.

Director, Choreographer and Musical Director:  Amy Jones

Stage Manager:  James Joseph Clark*

Assistant Stage Manager:  Holly Price

Scenic Designer:  Starlet Jacobs

Lighting Designer:  Kaylin Gess

Sound Designer:  Alan Piotrowicz

Costume Designer:  Elizabeth Saylor

* member of Actors Equity

A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR…
Amy Jones

Swingtime Canteen holds a very special place in my heart. It was the show in which I got my Actors’ Equity card, and became my bread and butter professionally for several years. That first production was not only challenging and fulfilling, but also connected me with women who would become lifelong friends.

Among those women is the always funny, supremely talented Marcy McGuigan, who I have worked with in too many shows to count, both as her director and a fellow actor. I am just so thrilled to have her in this production among all of the other fierce women in this cast that I have a close friendship with (Katie Barton), always want to work with again (Caitlin Witty) or am meeting and working with for the first time (Claire Marie Spencer and Claire-Frances Sullivan). Plus an all-female swingin’ band and the opportunity to work with Ben Hope, Jacqui Hubbard and the wonderful production staff at Ivoryton Playhouse. It doesn’t get much better than that!

I love that Swingtime Canteen is seeing a resurgence in regional theatres. It is a witty, campy, touching show with truly some of the best music from the big-band era and lovable, iconic characters. I know that you will be humming these tunes for many days to come and hope that the patriotic, heartfelt message resonates for you as much as it has for me over these many years.

Enjoy!

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Join us for an opening night reception following the 8:00pm performance on Friday, May 17th.
Light refreshments will be served.

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While producing Swingtime Canteen, the staff and crew of Ivoryton Playhouse discovered that many of us share something in common – we have grandfathers, fathers or close family members who served our country and fought in foreign wars.

We are honored and proud to share, with our audiences, photos of our relatives who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and other military service.  The display is located on the right hand side of the back counter.

Check back here for photos and video clips!

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BACKGROUND FOR “SWINGTIME CANTEEN”

In December 1941, the United States joins the war that spanned the world.  Millions of men and women heed the country’s call to arms and the entertainment industry sets its sights on bolstering their morale.  Given the success of New York’s Stage Door Canteen, Bette Davis and John Garfield establish a west coast counterpart, the Hollywood Canteen.

“The Hollywood Canteen was an MGM galaxy on Friday nights with Virginia O’Brien, Hedy Lamarr, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Mickey Rooney.  The canteens brought out the best in the people, as well as in the entertainers… those who gave so many hours to sit and talk and dance with the GIs and those behind the scenes in the kitchen and elsewhere deserve medal of their own”
– – Maxene Andrews and Bill Gilbert; Over Here, Over There

The reach of Hollywood’s finest goes far beyond the home shores, often at great personal risk. Called “soldiers in greasepaint”, they travel in secrecy with the USA to England and New Guinea, North Africa and Italy.  Wherever there are service men and women, enterainers demonstrate a commitment to the national consciousness known as “the war effort.”  At the movies, Hollywood offers such patriotic musical fare as Thank Your Lucky Stars and Hollywood Canteen.  On December 25, 1942, Coca-Cola sponsors “Uncle Sam’s Christmas Tree”, a twelve hour radio show broadcast worldwide from 43 U.S. naval bases and army camps.  It is against this backdrop that SWINGTIME CANTEEN takes its inspiration.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Swinging into Spring with an All-Female Big Band on a Journey to the ‘40s!

Up Next at Ivoryton Playhouse: ‘Swingtime Canteen’

Look out, Rosie the Riveter, these ladies can Swing!

Get ready to swing back in time as Ivoryton Playhouse proudly announces the upcoming production of Swingtime Canteen, the second show in its exciting 2024 season. From May 16th to June 9th, audiences will be transported to the iconic era of the Second World War for an unforgettable journey filled with toe-tapping tunes, heartwarming moments, and a lot of swing!

Performance Schedule:

  • First Previews: May 16th, 2024
  • Opening Night: May 17th, 2024
  • Show Dates: May 16th through June 19th, 2024
  • Performance Times: Wednesdays—2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays—7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays—8 p.m., Sundays—2 p.m.
  • Added 2 pm Matinee:  Tuesday, June 4th.

Set in 1944, Swingtime Canteen takes theatergoers on a nostalgic trip to a USO canteen, where soldiers and civilians alike gather to find solace, laughter, and the joy of music amidst the chaos of war. Packed with beloved hits from the era, including “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” and “I’ll Be Seeing You,” this musical extravaganza promises to have audiences singing along and dancing in their seats.

“We are thrilled to bring the timeless charm and infectious energy of Swingtime Canteen to the Ivoryton stage,” said Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic Director of Ivoryton Playhouse. “This production is a celebration of resilience, camaraderie, and the power of music to uplift spirits even in the darkest of times. Audiences can expect an evening filled with laughter, tears, and incredibly talented ladies!”

The show is directed by Amy Jones, a renowned New York-based theatre artist who has a long-standing pedigree with the show, having performed in the original Off-Broadway production. Swingtime Canteen promises to be a heartwarming and entertaining experience for theater lovers of all ages, featuring a talented, all-female cast of actor-musicians.

Ivoryton Playhouse is excited to announce Marcia McGuigan’s return to the Ivoryton stage as Grande Dame ‘Marian Ames’. The show also features Playhouse favorite Katie Barton as ‘Jo Sterling,’ as well as new-comers Caitlin Witty as ‘Katie Gammersflugel,’ Claire Marie Spencer as ‘Topeka Abotelli,’ and Claire-Frances Sullivan as ‘Lilly McBain.’ Rounding out the band are Mallory Kokus on reeds, Kim Bonsanti on trumpet, and Jordan Brint on the bass.

Not only is the cast filled with powerhouse females, but the design team is rounded out by amazing female-identifying artisans who lend their skills and creativity to Amy Jones’ vision. Starlet Jacobs is the Scenic Designer, with Kaylin Gess on the Lighting Design, Melissa Titus on the Props Design, and Liz Sailor on the Costume Design. Alan Piotrowitz is the loan male on the design team with Sound Design.

Tickets for Swingtime Canteen are now on sale and are $60 for adults, $55 for seniors, and $25 for students. Tickets are available online at ivorytonplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 860.767.7318. (For information on group rates, please contact the box office.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

About Ivoryton Playhouse: Ivoryton Playhouse is a renowned small professional theatre in South Central Connecticut. For many years, it has been a beacon of creativity, culture, and intimate theatrical engagement. The theatre is committed to presenting exceptional productions and creating unforgettable experiences for audiences of all ages.

For more information, interviews, and press inquiries, please contact:
Ben Hope, Executive Producer –  ben@ivorytonplayhouse.org. 321.303.0110

For press tickets, please contact:
Susan McCann – susanmc@ivorytonplayhouse.org

 (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

Looking for something to do? Ivoryton Playhouse has been voted best place to see live theatre by readers of The Shoreline Times for three years in a row. Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!

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Did You
Know

By 1940, 80% of American households would own a radio, making American music far more accessible to civilians and soldiers alike. Although the radio could be used to boost American morale, the American Government censored radio channels in fear that enemy agents may be sending coded messages through song requests on the stations.