The Tony-nominated Swing! opens the Indiana Festival Theatre season to a sold-out house June 12 and plays through June 30. Its schedule of performance–and the schedule for the entire Festival Theatre season–may be found by clicking here.
Swing! is based on the terrific dance music that emerged in the 1930s and 1940s. The text below is from George T. Simon’s The Big Bands, and it captures the feeling of the music and its time:
“DO YOU remember what it was like? Maybe you do. Maybe you were there. Maybe you were there in New York two-thirds of the way through the 1930’s when there were so many great bands playing–so many of them at the same time. You could choose your spots–so many spots.
“You could go a block or so farther to the Terrace Room of the Hotel New Yorker, and there you’d find Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra with Bob Eberly and Helen O’Connell . . . or to be to the Blue Room of the Hotel Lincoln to catch Artie Shaw and his band with Helen Forrest . . . or to the Green Room of the Hotel Edison for Les Brown’s brand new band.
“Maybe you’d rather go to some other hotel room–like the Palm Room of the Commodore for Red Norvo or the Mildred Bailey and their soft, subtle swing . . . or to the Grill Room of the Lexington for Bob Crosby and his dixieland Bob Cats . . . or to the Moonlit Terrace of the Biltmore for Horace Heidt and his huge singing entourage . . . or down to the Roosevelt Grill for Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians and their extrasweet sounds.
“And then there were the ballrooms–the Roseland with the Woody Herman and the Savoy with Chick Webb. Not to mention the nightclubs–the Cotton Club with Duke Ellington, or the Paradise Restaurant, where a band nobody knew too much about was making sounds that the entire nation would soon recognize as those of Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.
“Maybe you didn’t feel so much like dancing but more like sitting and listening and maybe taking in a movie too. You could got to the Paramount, where Tommy Dorsey and his band, along with Jack Leonard and Edythe Wright, were appearing . . . or to the Strand to catch Xavier Cugat and his Latin music . . . or to Loew’s State, where Jimmie Lunceford was swinging forth.
“And if you had a car, you could go a few miles ou of town . . . to the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle to dance to Larry Clinton’s music with vocals by Bea Wain . . . or to Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook across the bridge in New Jersey to catch Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra with Peewee Hunt and Kenny Sargent.”