IN THE MOOD has just returned from a tour of New Zealand and Australia
Review: By Walter Tunis — Contributing Music Writer, Kentucky.com
Era of the big bands is alive in revue that stays fresh by changing its tunes
As the 20th anniversary of the touring1940s musical revue called In the Mood approaches, a certain irony surfaces that is not at all lost on Bud Forrest.
"I always tell people we've lasted longer than the original big band era did," said the revue's pianist, conductor, producer and music director.
What In the Mood has not outlasted, however, is the appeal of that music. The production uses the 13-member String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra. Its duty is to perform fresh arrangements of swing-era favorites by Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, the Andrew Sisters and other greats of the period. To that, the revue adds a team of dancers who recreate the waltzes, foxtrots and jitterbugs that represent what audiences added to the music in its heyday.
"The long and short of it is, at the end of the day, we all on the stage look out on the audience and we see the impact this music is still having on people. The sounds and rhythms of the big band with the singers and the dancers trigger, for those that are still around from the period, all these memories because they saw the original bands.
"But then there are the baby boomers that grew up with what their parents were listening to, the big band music. They recall a lot of their own memories. And there are those that have never heard the big bands before, so this is opening their eyes and ears big time."
Nostalgia plays a considerable, and obvious, role in the appeal of a production like In the Mood. But given that it has been touring for just shy of two decades, a question surfaces. How can a production dealing with a historic repertoire sustain its popularity for so long?
The answer is that Forrest continually changes the set list in the production. The most popular of the swing era tunes — the "big hits," so to speak — remain constant. From there, Forrest chooses tunes and arrangements based upon the equally changing lineup of the musicians in the String of Pearls band.
"Every year, we have different musicians and singers, so I try to cater to the talents of those that I hire," Forrest said. "If I have a top-notch lead trumpet player, I may pull out some Harry James music, or some Benny Goodman tunes for a clarinetist. Same with the singers. If they can handle the more demanding sounds of the big band era, we find the right songs for them.
"We always, of course, stay with the iconic numbers — Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Tuxedo Junction and so forth. It's just a matter of me deciding which songs to leave out, really. There is so much material to choose from to fashion into a show because my goal with In the Mood has always been to tell a story without telling a story. The music is the story."
A graduate of the Julliard School of Music, Forrest never envisioned leading a swing-era revue. In essence, though, the music came to him. Following graduation, he became pianist for the Singing Sergeants, the official chorus ensemble of the Air Force. Stints with various bands followed that honed Forrest's skills as a conductor and pianist. By 1988, he organized a tribute show dedicated to the music of the Andrews Sisters. The earliest versions of In the Mood were solidified in 1994 and 1995 as touring USO commemorations marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the World War II.
But it was in his earliest schooling that Forrest discovered his love for some of the earliest forms of popular music.
"I'm a classical pianist," he said. "But I had the good fortune before I actually went into the repertory division at Julliard of having a piano teacher with the wherewithal to devote the last 15 minutes of my hour-and-a-lessons to popular music. So I went through the American songbook and he helped me with the chord progressions and all that. The Chopin, the Beethoven and the Bach were on my radar scope as well, but I just gravitated toward musical theater.
"It's hard to project one's future as a teenager, but early on, I made my living doing both classical and popular music. Today, when I get up in the morning, I think to myself how fortunate we are to be doing this. But I also realized I never intended for it to last this long. But now that it has, there is no reason to stop it. This music just rolls on."
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/04/14/2599944/in-the-mood-keeps-swing-era-alive.html#storylink=cpy
Send this link to the In The Mood two minute preview to a friend !!
IN THE MOOD, the 1940’s Big Band Musical Revue, is a celebration of America’s Greatest Generation through the music of The Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller, The Dorseys Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and other big band greats with costumes, arrangements and swing dance routines that are as authentic as it gets.
With a 13-piece big band orchestra, and six singers and dancers (including a high energy swing dance couple), IN THE MOOD revisits the music that moved a nation's spirit and helped win a war. This era was the last time when all of America was listening and dancing to the same kind of music.
IN THE MOOD is performing around the United States presented by performing arts centers, universities and theatrical organizations. During the 2010-11 season, Artbeat will supplement these dates with performances at additional venues listed on the right. Artbeat is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to bring the finest performing arts experiences to underserved communities – that is underserved groups like seniors and veterans and also towns located off the beaten track.
Artbeat has IN THE MOOD tickets at discounted prices for groups: senior centers, Red Hats, VFW and other patriotic organizations, Rotary and other service clubs, high school jazz bands, assisted living venues, churches and more! If you need help organizing your group or need tickets, either contact the venue you’d like to attend or e-mail:
David David .
In The Mood has become a beacon for the Greatest Generation, Patriotic Groups, Fans of the Swing Era, Red Hats and similar groups. The show was the National Touring Event for the Spirit of ’45, a year-long celebration of the Greatest Generation marking the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII.
Bud Forrest Entertainment began touring IN THE MOOD in 1994 following an overwhelming response from a performance on the steps of the National Archives in Washington, DC. For over 10 years IN THE MOOD has continued to impact audiences with sell-out performances everywhere. Through its musical influence, it became part of the official entertainment for the World USO’s 50th commemoration of the WW II events. IN THE MOOD has performed and toured both in the U.S.A. and Europe and for the Clinton Presidential Inaugural Ball.
IN THE MOOD was conceived by Washington, DC's musical producer, Bud Forrest.
Creator and producer, Bud Forrest is a Juilliard trained pianist and conductor who served as accompanist for the Air Force chorus: The Singing Sergeants. He has performed at Arena Stage in Candide and It’s a Wonderful Life, at Ford’s Theatre in All Night Strut, at the Kennedy Center with such performers as Cyril Ritchard, Tammy Grimes, Lillian Gish, Dick Shawn, and John Raitt, at the Warner Theatre in Camelot with Richard Harris and at the National Theatre in Cats and Dancin’. For In The Mood, Mr. Forrest has compiled the greatest music from the swing era into a review that also tells the story of the WWII years in a moving tribute to those who fought the war. In The Mood repertoire is updated from time to time based on patron requests and current research.
“Arrangements for the String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra and the In the Mood Singers and Dancers choreography are true to the originals. The sounds of the big band, the vocal groups, solos and swing dance numbers ring out with the same kind of 1940’s feel that IN THE MOOD has strived for during the seventeen years we have been touring.” –Bud Forrest
Many of the musical arrangements were written by Vic Schoen, the conductor and arranger for The Andrews Sisters, and Music Director for both Universal and Paramount Pictures. The revue features a company of 24 including the In the Mood Singers and Dancers with the sensational String of Pearls big band orchestra with arrangements, costumes and choreography as authentic as it gets.
High-resolution, downloadable photos available at:
More Details and Press Resources here
For Producer Information, please click, here...
IN THE MOOD has been named the official national touring event for THE SPIRIT OF ’45, a year-long national initiative to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II by honoring the legacy of the men and women of who endured the Great Depression, defended democracy in WWII and then went on to rebuild their shattered world. The goal of the Spirit of '45 is to remind America of the courage, self sacrifice and commitment to service of our "greatest generation" so that their example can inspire young and old to come together again as a community to face the historic challenges of today. To learn more about Spirit of ’45 Project, please visit www.spiritof45.org
A night that swings
The big band era that dominated the middle of the 20th century is roaring back into town, courtesy of this clever, snappy, brassy celebration of swing dance and music.
Creator and musical maestro Bud Forrest has managed to recapture the musical milieu that made Glenn Miller immortal, along with some stellar choreography from Alex Sanchez.
Forrest’s String Of Pearls Orchestra is a tight bright unit that sizzles and swings with the tuxedo style that kept a generation on its feet.
Amiable Mark Brignone leads the stellar ensemble with a swanky Frank style attitude, while Jennifer Andres’ beautiful rich tones revive an era when lyrics meant something.
– Matt Byrne
Testimonials from Melbourne, Australia performance, September 2011