MASON CITY | The Andrews Sisters are touring again.
Well, not the real Andrews Sisters, but the Stebens Children’s Theatre traveling show of the same name.
The Andrews Sisters was the theater’s first touring production some 13 years ago, and it has been revived for its third tour of duty.
“There’s nothing better to take to nursing homes than musical revues,” said Tom Ballmer, executive director of SCT.
But first, it opens for public performances Saturday and Sunday on the SCT main stage.
“They are my favorite girl group from the World War II era,” Ballmer said. “When I saw them in the movies, I thought even as a kid these are really great singers -- great harmony, great choreography. They’re very entertaining.”
The show is filled with nostalgic novelty songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”
“It’s one great song after another, as far as I’m concerned,” Ballmer said.
He’s tied the songs together with what he called a “very thin plot.” Two girls, Tillie and Pepper, are auditioning to replace Patty Andrews, who wants to go solo.
Tillie and Pepper are played by Sophia Willis and Annaliese Emmons, respectively. The Andrews Sisters are Gabreyl Gaubatz as Maxene, Amelia Ouverson as LaVerne, and Ava Ciavarelli as Patty. Makenna Hansen and Sophia Ciavarelli split the role of Charlie, their sound person.
“The fact that it’s an all-girl show is pretty fun,” Willis said.
“Tom does a good job depicting who these women were,” Gaubatz said, adding that they were successful women during a really important time.
Willis jokingly suggested there may have been some typecasting involved.
“We’re all very similar to our characters,” Willis said. “We play that up.”
“We each bring something unique to our character,” Emmons added. “It’s pretty fun to get into the character of somebody in the 1940s.”
There’s an Andrews trivia contest in the middle of the show, and the characters interact with the audience.
“It’s what the Andrews Sisters actually did,” Gaubatz said.
Though they have fun, they are serious about their craft.
“We’re dedicated to this,” Willis said. “We all put in a lot of work.”
“It’s really doing something we love,” Gaubatz said.
“We’re involved in a ton of other stuff,” she added. “We’re just involved kids. This definitely builds character. It prepares us for college, and balancing priorities.”
They’re also good friends.
“A lot of time outside of Stebens we do spend with each other, so we have a lot of fun,” Willis said.
“We’re kind of like this little family,” Emmons said.
They’re looking forward to sharing the show with audiences, and Ballmer said they’re “looking for gigs.”
“I’m really excited for people to see it,” Willis said. “It’s just a good show. You will not regret it.”