"Sisters of Swing"
Tell The Story of The Andrews Sisters
At Stoneham Theatre

From June 30 - July 24, Stoneham Theatre will present "Sisters of Swing: the Story of the Andrews Sisters." Stoneham Theatre is located at 395 Main Street in Stoneham.

"Sisters of Swing" sings out the triumphs and tribulations of Patty, Maxene and LaVerne. For many, they were the definitive pin-up girls of their time. In reality, they were more often the vulnerable girls next door, eventually breaking up because of their differences.

They worked their way up through the ranks with countless hits from “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" to "Apple Blossom Time," “Rum and Coca Cola” and more. Dubbed “America’s Wartime Sweethearts,” they had a rousing impact on the morale of many a GI as well as a world weary with war. Yet in the end, The Andrews Sisters paid a price for such fame. This show strives to go beyond the ordinary to offer a unique perspective into these women as human beings, showing how the events of their lives shaped who they became to the rest of the world.

"Sisters of Swing" was first produced in Stoneham in 2008, becoming one of the best selling musicals in the theatre’s history. The original 2008 Stoneham Theatre cast, again directed by Arlington's own Bobby Cronin, returns with Laura DeGiacomo as Patty, Steve Gagliastro in multiple roles, Kerri Jill Garbis as LaVerne and Kimberly Robertson as Maxene.

The Andrews Sisters sold more than 90 million records with nine of their albums going gold. They had more Top Ten hits than the Beatles or Elvis. And they're still proving to be one of the best-selling female vocal groups of all time.

However, there’s also the back story. Born in Minneapolis, The Andrews Sisters began their professional musical careers when their ages ranged from 16 - 22. Managed by an overbearing father, they got their start touring with the 55-piece Larry Rich Orchestra. By the mid-30’s, they became an independent act, touring the Midwest and performing in Vaudeville. After several years of living on the road, they had their first major success with "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön," which initially sold 350,000 copies and held Billboard’s No.1 slot for five weeks. Within a very short time, it became the first million selling record for an all-female group. But by the mid-50’s, The Andrews Sisters were essentially done.

Writers Beth Gilleland and Bob Beverage, along with Raymond Berg (musical arrangement and continuity), initially had "Sisters of Swing" produced in St. Paul in 2002. By then two of the sisters were gone – LaVerne, the eldest, died in the 60s, and Maxene in the early 90’s. Patty, the youngest and considered the most charismatic of the three, is still alive, but lives a very reclusive life.

Gilleland, Beverage, and Berg have their own back story in putting together this show, involving several years of researching a complicated history, interviewing countless individuals and procuring the rights to all 20 songs highlighted in the production. During the time of creating "Sisters of Swing," 14 concerns held the rights to the musical material. By 2011, several mergers had taken place. Negotiating the musical rights for this show has become an ongoing process.

The Andrews Sisters did not write their own material, but instead had many a Tin Pan Alley tune discovered and arranged just for them. At one point there was an actual songwriting team at Decca Records devoted to writing material for them .

The songs of "Sisters Of Swing" represent an important part of the heyday of American Big Band Swing music spanning the years from the mid-1930s through the 1940s and beyond. The hit songs are interwoven within the script to portray the Andrews' musical career as a part of their real lives.

Since its debut in St. Paul, Sisters of Swing has charmed sold out audiences in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Oregon, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

For tickets and information, stop by the box office, call 781-279-2200 or visit www.stonehamtheatre.org.

-- OnStage Boston



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