Swing on by the Write Act Rep for “Swing”

“Swing,” a new musical, written by Michael Antin, and produced by Tamra Pica and John Lant is yet another remarkable production, now in its run at the Write Act Repertory, Noho Arts District. It takes place in the Baltimore neighborhood of Germantown, just after the end of WWII. It’s a musical that deals with PTSD, a condition that was little known or addressed at that time. At play’s start, we are introduced to the talented ‘Swing Sisters,’ (Adrianna & co-workers), reminiscent of the charming Andrews Sisters in that era. They set the tone by singing about women getting pregnant; women forced to do men’s jobs while their husbands are soldiers at war; and they belt out the very popular ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Over There,” genre of music, with a Rosie the Riveter vibe. We meet Adrianna (Heather Rose,) a true standout in this Uber-talented cast, who plays the much put upon wife of Butch, (Godfrey Flax,) who has just returned from the front line. While they perform their duet, “You’re a Stranger to Me,” we take in the obvious nuances of a marriage steeped in trouble. He’s suffering a very serious case of PTSD; hence he irrationally accuses his very loving, devoted wife of some terrible acts, none of which are true. The next scene at Fritz’ Cafe & Bakery is where the second plot line emerges. Fritz, a wonderfully cantankerous curmudgeon is played by Richard Warren. He reminds me of the ‘no soup for you’ soup Nazi character from Seinfeld, as the purveyor of a fine bakery, where the customers gather for coffee, crusts, and conversation. Janine (Cameron Kauffman) is the doctor assigned to Butch’s case, and in this production, which faces many a taboo head-on, one example is when Butch recoils at the thought of a woman examining him. Later, in the second act, the plot reveals a twist of fate, as she becomes Adrianna’s lesbian lover, and the two beautifully sing “Safe & Warm,” and the humorous “Be Mine,” exposing the threesome’s love triangle, each vying for true love. There is Jake (Andrew Diego), Janine’s brother who earnestly tries to broker the rift, ease the palpable tension, and convince them to reconcile differences. At the ‘end of the day,’ the two reach a resolution. The direction of “Swing,” by Corey Lynn Howe, is exemplary of another fine production at the Write Act, as is the musical direction of Wayne Moore. The multiple set changes by an ever acrobatic cast is true small theatre brilliance at its best. If I were to characterize this entire opus into one thought, it would be that there won’t be a ‘glass ceiling’ that can’t be broken. The once taboo subjects are very relevant to those in today’s heated political climate. What were once yesterday’s ‘forbidden fruit’ are still today’s bugaboos. Not much has changed, yet the production seems to revel in the boiling cauldron of dissension onstage. Reward yourself with a ticket to this artistically relevant show.


About Bonnie Priever Curtain Up!

I am a theatre reviewer extraordinairre. I attend and cover theatres ranging from large to small venues, and every subject from musical theatre to dramatic presentations. Also please check out my reviews at www.examiner.com and www.tolucantimes.com my email is bonniedeb13@hotmail.com
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