Swing dance and popular big-band tunes of the ‘40s will take audiences back in time, at Artbeat’s “In the Mood,” a revue at Benaroya Hall on March 7.
A touring show for 21 years, “In the Mood” has been presented all over the world. The show returns to the Pacific Northwest after a number of visits.
“I always create the show as if it’s the first one,” said Bud Forrest, the show’s music director, pianist, conductor and producer. “At the end of the day, we have to put on a quality show no matter where we are.”
The show changes from time to time but always includes the standards “Tuxedo Junction,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and the revue’s namesake, “In the Mood.” Much of the music was originally performed by such artists as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra.
“The music evokes something in people, and those melodies are just gloriously written,” Forrest said.
The show is open to all ages.
“I always advertise that it’s a family show for kids from 8 to 98,” Forrest said. “I know at the end of the day, I’m doing something that resonates with our audiences.”
Forrest is a former Juilliard student who, upon graduation from Ithaca College in New York, became the pianist for the Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C. With this experience, he developed a fascination with the rhythms and arrangements of the classic big bands of the 1940s.
What he started in 1998 as an homage to the Andrew Sisters, with a female trio, grew over five years, eventually developing into “In the Mood,” with a 17-piece big band, singers and dancers.
“For whatever reason, I get up in the morning and say, ‘Thank you very much,’” Forrest said.
“In the Mood” has since performed to thousands across the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe. Many of the arrangements for this show were written by Vic Schoen, the conductor and arranger for the entire career of the Andrews Sisters.
A new addition to the cast is Paige Sabo, who grew up in Redmond, Wash., and attended Cornish College for the Arts. Sabo, a swing dancer and vocalist, is excited to return to the Seattle area to perform.
Now a resident of New York City, Sabo received her bachelor’s degree in dance from the University of Arizona, where she performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She has also been seen in dance revues throughout the United States and Canada, including the Abba tribute, ”Dancing Queen.”
Sabo joined “In the Mood” in January; she will perform in more than 75 cities in the next five months.
“It’s definitely an experience,” she said. “Being away is hard, but we’re all doing what we love.”
Sabo noted that the company has quickly become like family.
“The music is what I grew up loving and singing and listening to,” she said, adding that she also sang jazz in high school and college. “It’s just a wonderful era.”
The show includes a lot of different songs from the era, with high energy and fun choreography, she noted. The revue also pays tribute to the military.
“It’s so wonderful to see how it touches the audience,” Sabo said. “It brings a lot of people to emotions and tears sometimes.”
“In the Mood” takes place on March 7 at 2 p.m. at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium in Benaroya Hall (200 University St.). For more information, visit artbeatshows.org/in-the-mood or www.benaroyahall.org.
To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.