‘SWING!’ jumps, jives and wails on Saville stage

Bright lights, colorful costumes, pin-up hairdos and flirty dance moves are all present in the spectacular show, SWING! The musical, which features songs from Duke Ellington, The Andrew Sisters and other memorable compositions, hit Saville Theater Friday April 17.

The Visual and Performing Arts department has put in a great deal of effort to bring to stage an epic musical era that revolutionized the nation from 1930 through 1946.

In a time were racial tension was ever present, SWING! portrays the atmosphere of the Savoy Ballroom, also known as “the home of happy feet.”

When asked why the show was chosen, June Richards, SWING! stage director, proudly replied, “The Savoy ballroom opened in Harlem in the 1920s. It was the only venue in New York where everyone, regardless of culture or race, could come together to dance.”

Richards continued, “The question for me as an artist is how much was music influenced by the dancers, and how much were the dancers influenced by the music? The question is unanswerable. When we chose this show, we thought it would provide our students with a chance to showcase their singing talent and we had a wonderful group of dance students.”

In order to reproduce the 1999 original Broadway show, the cast and crew worked long hours to prepare for opening night. While many students were enjoying Spring Break, the cast and crew used the break to put in extra hours in order to perfect their performances.

Richards admitted that many long nights were spent in her office working on the production.

Richards not only directs the show, but her years of experience have allowed her to collaborate with other aspects of theater production.

“What I like about theater is the fact that I can utilize my creativity in multiple ways,” she says. The process of recreating this musical phenomenon requires a great deal of collaboration and everyone plays an important role, even if they are not in the limelight.

Such is the case with Amanda Gardner, who shyly admits that she would rather work behind the scenes, helping with the audiovisual equipment. She is part of the crew that helps put the show together.

During the show, Gardner makes sure that microphones are properly working in order to avoid technical difficulties.

Costume Director, Carol Whaley, also collaborates with Richards to effectively use costumes that will compliment the show.

These are only some of the members of the team that make it all happen.

Because the show contains no dialogue, yet it is filled with talented singing and bold moves, the performers use lighting, costumes and facial expressions to paint the mood and translate it to the audience.

One of the talented performers mentioned that it is not known how the audience would react to the lack of dialogue so they had to make sure to express themselves by using gestures and facial expressions to “punctuate.”

Choreographer Alicia Rincon has worked with consultant Jim Cruzen to reflect the “vocabulary of dance,” and if you speak the language then you will enjoy the show.

After seven weeks of rehearsing and long hours of work, the cast and crew are proud to offer a show that “allows everyone to leave the theater dancing and singing along with the cast.”

The show begins its run on April 17th, running through April 19th, and continue for the following two weekends.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

You can reserve tickets at (619) 388-3617. General admission is $15 and $10 for a student, senior and military.

For more information visit www.sdcity.edu/savilletheater/events or call (619) 388-3617.

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‘SWING!’ jumps, jives and wails on Saville stage