Review: Sisters of Swing:
The Story of the Andrews Sisters

By Melanie Nelson, Independent Reviewer

ccentuate the Positive” is not only one of my favorite numbers in Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters currently playing at St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre in Hudson, WI, but it is also a metaphor for how many of us remember the Andrew Sisters. Their music is known across generations, although it is their work with the USO during World War II that engrained them in the hearts of Americans.

The musical opens up in 1931 as Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne Andrews win a talent contest at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Within 14 years the sisters record their first big hit at Decca Records, move to LA, and start touring with the USO. We see the girls as real people: their struggle with discrimination and their love/hate relationship with their parents and each other.

Director Jim Zimmerman takes us to World War II as we hear bombers flyer over head, announcements break in with news of the war, and we relish in the atmosphere of a 1940’s club, minus the smoke. In its entirety the performance takes us from 1931 all the way to present day, as Patty is the sole surviving sister at the age of 93. Throughout it all the set changes are as crisp and simple as a dance all on their own.

The sisters are led by veteran St.Croix Off Broadway actor Stephanie Briggs, as the oldest sister LaVerne, and newcomers Alyssa Seifert as Maxene and Cassandra Koob as Patty complete the trio. Their harmonies are very nice to sit back and take in, and their smiles are infectious.

Shaking it up a bit are the men in the ensemble. Kevin Gisi plays Lou Levy. We see a side or two of him that is over the top, and has the audience laughing. And the cast is rounded off with David Wesley Frank and Alex Heetland.

This is not my first evening with the Sisters of Swing. I’ve seen it before at another venue, but I will say the end moved me this time around. Maybe it was the intimate space at the Hudson House Inn, or maybe it was LaVerne’s heartfelt final speech. I can’t put my finger on it, but it was nice.

What to order…this is dinner theatre after all. You get your choice of a tilapia, steak, ribs, or vegetable lasagna. At my table we chose the steak and the ribs. The two ladies at the table next to us both chose the fish, and it looked lovely. An awesome dessert jumped on the menu for this show - Andes mint pie. I recommend it.

Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters runs Fridays and Saturdays through May 7. The price of $52 includes dinner; coffee, pop, tea, or milk; show; tip; and tax. Two noon lunch matinees on March 26 and May 7 are $39. Get your tickets by calling (715)386.2394 ext. 333 or order them online at www.stcroixoffbroadway.com.



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St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre
1616 Crest View Drive, Hudson, WI 54016    Box Office: (715)386.2394 ext. 333
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