Decades before Destiny’s Child, Wilson Phillips, The Bangles or The Supremes, America’s number one girl group was The Andrews Sisters.
Siblings Patti, Maxene and LaVerne showcased trademark close harmonizing, sung in swing and boogie – woogie styles.
Reaching the pinnacle of recognition and success during the Second World War, the singers made a name for themselves entertaining allied forces and touring extensively throughout the United States, Africa and Italy. During their long reign together, the trio also sold in excess of 75 million records world – wide.
Building up a vast and impressive catalogue, hit songs included “Pistol Packin’ Mama”, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon”, “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree”, “Rum and Coca Cola”, “Shoo Shoo Baby” as well as their signature piece, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”
In 1998, The Andrews Sisters were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Contemporary artists from Bette Midler to Christina Aguilera, have covered the sisters’ songs, style and sound, keeping their musical legacy alive and kicking to this day.
The brainchild of writer and director, John Livings (who also conceived At Last – The Etta James Story and Let’s Get It On – The Life and Music of Marvin Gaye) Bugle Boys: A Salute To The Andrews Sisters is 60 minutes of toe – tapping, saucy yet loving nostalgia.
This brand new, high – energy production is jam – packed with a dozen standards, covering both a range of the group’s most famous melodies and lesser – known numbers, including “The Three Caballeros” and “I Wanna Be Loved”.
Bugle Boys also includes a brilliant draw card in its pack of tricks.
Potentially the show’s biggest selling point, the sisters are played by veteran cabaret stars, Michael Dalton (as Patty), Jon Jackson (as Maxine) and Andrew Dessmann (as LaVerne).
Like the renowned all – male dance troupe, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, after getting past the intrinsic novelty value of men cast as women, you realize how good Bugle Boys and these entertainers really are at recreating The Andrews Sisters’ sound.
Further, The Andrews Sisters may have projected a happy – go – lucky demeanor, but behind this slick front, their troubled private history was filled with petty jealousy, bitter feuds, and a career – threatening two – year separation. It is these intriguing tidbits that Bugle Boys includes and plays on (fortunately all in good fun).
The show also loosely covers the sisters’ rise to fame, meanwhile keeping audience members entertained by mixing their journey with a clever handful of modern cultural references. Each sister is given a specific point of view, and together, Dalton, Jackson and Dessmann let loose and run with their characters.
Supported by Livings’ tightly scripted banter between (and sometimes during) numbers, it was good to see that even on opening night, these seasoned performers still allowed themselves moments to relax and ad-lib as a trio.
Backed by a full – length shimmering silver curtain and mirror ball lighting effects, Bugle Boys goes a long way to recreate tasteful elegance not unlike Manhattan’s The Rainbow Room or Bird Land.
Excellent costuming (designed by Christian Logan-Bell) reinforces the faux military feel.
If you’re looking to spend a fun – filled hour with these cheeky lads, Bugle Boys would also make a fine addition to any cabaret, comedy, or alternative festival.
The season ends on Sunday, November 1. Don’t miss out.