Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 17, 2009

The Andrews Brothers

Exit 7 Players, Ludlow MA
through Oct. 31, 2009
by Eric Johnson

What is so funny about guys in dresses? In this case, it seems to be these particular guys.

Robert Clark III, Joe Alvernaz, and Steven Sands are hysterical as Lawrence, Max and Patrick Andrews, three USO stage hands who find themselves caught without a headline act (you guessed it, the Andrews Sisters) and have to perform in their stead. There are plenty of belly laughs to be had in Act II as the boys cavort about the stage; Sands in particular has some hilarious scene-stealing moments.

Diane Lamoreaux is the perfect choice for pin-up girl/chanteuse Peggy Jones; her curvaceous physique and sultry voice fit the time period perfectly. It would be nice to see more depth to her character; perhaps it was just opening night jitters but against the bar set by the rest of the cast, her performance seemed somewhat flat.

Creator/author Roger Bean doesn't present anything truly original or fresh, as all of the music is culled from existing songs of the '40s and the story is fairly predictable, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. The show is also refreshingly short for a musical -- about two hours.

The standout performance comes from the orchestra. Eight musicians (including music director/keyboardist Karla Newmark) create a big band sound that fills the room and gets toes tapping. The vocal performances by the cast are deftly executed with a generous amount of three-part harmony.

Pam Abair's direction creates a wonderful pace that keeps this show rolling along nicely. Kudos to choreographer Jenn Marshall for not going over the top; the movements never seem awkward or beyond the abilities of the actors. Likewise, the set design by Paul Hamel and Abair is just enough to complement the production without going too far.

The cast and crew are to be commended for a balanced and highly enjoyable performance. "The Andrews Brothers" delivers a night of great music, plenty of laughs and, oh yes, guys in dresses.