BG celebrates July 4th in song PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT, Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Friday, 05 July 2013 09:08
Ted Crosley (left, performed by Jody Madaras), Daisy Maxwell (performed by Amy Atkins), Betty Blake (performed by Natalie Berry) and John Handley (performed by Todd Berkich) are seen near a big band in a performance of "All Hands on Deck" July 3, 2013 at Kobacker Hall. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green kicked off its Independence Day celebrations Wednesday night with a burst of song.
Eastwood graduate Jody Madaras brought his original patriotic musical "All Hands on Deck" to Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus to play to a hometown audience.
Madaras said he loves playing for a hometown crowd, though sometimes it can be a little intimidating. He can pick out his mother's laugh in the crowd.
The show, a tribute to the Hollywood bond drives of World War II, was premiered in Wood County back in Perrysburg in January, 2011.
The show's conceit is that the bond drive has landed in Bowling Green "because we couldn't make it to Pemberville," Madaras quipped.
The script was filled with the corny humor of the time, including some risque jokes.
The songs took center stage though. The cast opens with "I've Heard That Song Before" an apt selection because listeners don't have to have grown up in that era to be familiar of most of these songs, "Embraceable You," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Sentimental Journey."
And they touched a lot of geographic bases from Chattanooga to Texas.
Madaras didn't only rely on old standbys though. There was a healthy dose of wartime tunes, notably "Der Fuehrer's Face," "I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen" and "How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning."
Madaras was in his element singing "Say That We're Sweethearts Again," in which he details all the ways his "sweetheart" tried to do him bodily harm.
The cast of Todd Berkich, as the new Hollywood tenor, Amy Atkins, as "the sweater girl" and Natalie Berry as "the bond bombshell" slipped in and out of solos, duos and quartets. The four-part harmonies were particularly strong.
The first act is staged as a live bond drive with the second act as a live radio broadcast. That means the loose improvisational nature of the first half gives way to the tighter, quicker rhythm of a broadcast.
Madaras said he was happy to bring "All Hands on Deck" back after it's been polished in performances all over the country.
He even had the benefit of a band that knew the score. When he stages the show he only brings his drummer Rob "Boom Boom" Martino with him and fills out the other eight chairs with local musicians.
Daisy Maxwell, performed by Amy Atkins, is seen in a performance of "All Hands on Deck" July 3, 2013 at Kobacker Hall.
On Wednesday he had the advantage of a number of musicians including trombonist Dan Saygers, who played the show when it made its debut and in Port Clinton last year.
The nine-piece band also included Eric Dickey, Perrysburg, on piano and Charles Saenz of the BGSU faculty on trumpet. They delivered the original arrangements with aplomb and a robust sound that belied that they had half the horns of the usual big band.
The show also featured Michala Behrens, who will be a BGSU sophomore majoring in musical theater, in a guest solo spot. She was chosen during an audition held in conjunction with the musical theater camp for secondary school students on campus to sing in the show.
She did "Button Up Your Overcoat" in Betty Boop style, never letting the comedy overshadow her musicality.
"I love these songs," she said afterward. "You can feel the swing in your body."
As the show neared its end, the cast sang a medley of service songs asking members of each branch of the military to stand when their melody was played.
That celebration of veterans is what drew Gary Pfotenhauer out to the show. A Navy veteran from 1964-68, the music may have been before his time - the show is set in 1942 the year he was born, but he still remembers it. Most of all he appreciated "the whole idea of paying tribute to servicemen."
After the curtain call, audience members who wanted more patriotic sounds could go a few blocks to hear the Bowling Green Area Community Band and its jazz ensemble perform outside the Mileti Alumni Center.
The community band CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO also offered a medley of service themes and brought the show to a close with John Philip Sousa's high-flying "Stars and Stripes Forever."
Last Updated on Friday, 05 July 2013 10:16

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