BG adds musical to July 4th festivities PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Monday, 17 June 2013 09:47
AHOD-onair-rotator
Jody Madaras (second from left) brings his original musical “All Hands on Deck” to Bowling Green on July 3 as part of the city’s celebration of Independence Day. (Photo provided by Jody Madaras)
The patriotic spirit of Bowling Green's Independence Day festivities get a boost this year when county native Jody Madaras brings "All Hands on Deck," his tribute to America's veterans, to town.
The show, which premiered in 2011 in Perrysburg, will be presented on the stage of Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center at 6 p.m. July 3 before the fireworks display is set off in the stadium. Tickets are $20 to $32 and are available by calling (419) 372-8171 or at www.bgsu.edu/cultural_arts.
Since it made its local debut, Madaras has presented the show throughout the country.
The arrangements to bring it back to the area were initiated by Michael Ellison, of the BGSU theater faculty. He's known Madaras since the former Pemberville resident came back to town several years ago to appear in the Black Swamp Players' production of "42nd Street."
Ellison saw "All Hands on Deck" in Clyde and felt it would be a perfect fit for Wood County. Working with Vanessa Chapman of the BGSU development office and Susan Hoekstra of the College of Musical Arts, they came up with the idea of presenting in conjunction with the fireworks and with the musical theater camp on campus.
Madaras will be a guest instructor at the camp which runs from June 27 through July 3. One camper will have a chance to appear on stage during "All Hands on Deck."
"I excited to get to work with Jody because he and I have never had a chance to do that," Ellison said.
Madaras brings a variety of skills not just as an singer, dancer and actor, but also through his work on "All Hands on Deck" as a producer and director. "He has very savvy skills."
"As a tap dancer he has a lot of experience in the more old style musicals," Ellison said.
Focusing on the musical style of the 1940s, the inspiration for "All Hands on Deck" will be Madaras' role at camp. "There's a sense of fun and joy and innocence. There's nothing geopolitical about the songs," Madaras said. "It's all can-do spirit."
Ellison said the contrast between musicals then and now will be the focus of the camp's finale. "I'm excited about the opportunity the campers will have to understand the different styles, different mindsets and how the world has changed," Ellison said.
Madaras will arrive at BGSU just off a run of playing Cosmo Brown in "Singin' in the Rain" at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, NY.
Reached by telephone at the beginning of technical rehearsals, he said: "It's a workout. I tell you, it's getting me into shape."
Clearly he did get in shape. A review on Ithaca.com reported: "Madaras practically channels the comic lilt in the voice of Donald O'Connor (the film's Cosmo), and comes up with his own take on the classic 'Make Em Laugh.'"
"All Hands on Deck" is firmly rooted the spirit of 1942.
Madaras said he was prompted to create the musical while on tour with a big band revue dedicated to the music of the time.
He was the lead singer and announcer. After the show in Hawaii, a fan, who was a  veteran and journalist, approached him. According to Madaras he said: "You're a lot of fun to watch. What are you doing in this ditsy show? Why don't you write your own show?"
Madaras took that advice to heart. A number of "homogenized 1940s shows" already existed featuring such inimitable characters as singer No. 1, he noted. He wanted something more distinctive.
He was inspired by the Hollywood Victory Caravan, a series of tours featuring the top entertainers of the time, including Lucille Ball, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, that hit the road to promote the purchase of war bonds. "They raised millions of dollars right at the beginning of the war," he said. "And nobody's honored them."
"All Hands on Deck" is a recreation of just such a show, featuring fictional characters playing stars of the time.
Madaras will play Ted Crosley, the show's host, modeled on Bob Hope. Other cast members are Todd Berkich as the featured tenor, Natalie Berry as "the bond bombshell;" and Amy Atkins as "the sweater girl." The actresses are from Texas, where the show had a four-week run in Fort Worth, and Berkich hails from Pennsylvania.
Madaras travels with a drummer-conductor Rob "Boom Boom" Martino. "He's my Doc Severinsen," Madaras said. He has the tempos of the show pinned down and loves the music. "He's just a gem."
Otherwise Madaras hires local musicians to fill out the nine-piece band.
Though it depicts troubled times, Madaras aims to create a fun show. "It's very fast paced, packed stem to stern with 42 of the greatest American songs ever written," he said.
"I hope we have as many World War II and Korean Conflict veterans and their spouses come out as possible," he said. "I wrote it for them, and I want them to come out and sing those songs with us."
Last Updated on Monday, 17 June 2013 19:29
 

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