Halfway into Act I of Tuesday night’s performance the words “gonna make a sentimental journey, to renew old memories” echoed throughout Eisenhower Auditorium.
Those lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown, and Ben Homer became the mantra of the night as old recollections were certainly renewed.
“In the Mood: a 1940s musical revue” began at 7 Tuesday night in Eisenhower, brought to the area by the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State.
“It’s time for all of us to put all of you in the mood,” one of the night’s performers exclaimed in the beginning of the show.
The singers, clad with bowties and high-waisted skirts, reenacted the era of the 1930s and 1940s for the night by reviving the brassy and energetic songs of the time.
Of the many songs of the night, “Juke Box Saturday Night,” “I Don’t Know Why (I Just Do),” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “I’ll Be Seeing You” were included.
The 65-minute Act I began with “St. Louis Blues March” and was followed by the equally as long Act II, which began with “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
Diane Kemmerer, a local resident and audience member, said that the performance contained more songs that she expected.
“I didn’t know I’d recognize so many songs,” she said of the authentic night.
This year marked the performance’s 19th anniversary and Tuesday’s show featured six “In The Mood” singer and dancers, who danced predominantly swing styles.
“The String of Pearls Orchestra,” made up of rhythm, saxophones, trumpets, and trombones, aided the performers of the night.
Included in the rhythm section of the orchestra was Bud Forrest, the “In the Mood” creator, producer, and artistic director. Forrest is also a Juilliard School trained pianist and conductor.
The performance pretended that it was occurring, real time, in the 1940s. It was not until the 15-minute intermission that the audience was told that they were again transported back to the year 2012.
At one point during the show, President Roosevelt was mentioned, prohibition was repealed and “Babe Ruth hit a homer.”
Audience participated was also encouraged and when the singers sang their rendition of “Hey! Ba Ba Re Bop,” the audience was told to sing their own part — a chorus of spectators rejoiced.
“I didn’t realize it would be set up as what, I imagine, a big band show [of the time] would be,” said audience member and Penn State graduate student Clair Keene.
Keene, who dances swing “occasionally,” said that though the moves of the night were above her skill level, she was very impressed and used the show as an opportunity to look for new moves.
“In the Mood” has been performed in various art centers, arenas and state fairs in the past — a highlight of which was President Clinton’s Inaugural Ball for his second term.
“I think [the performance was] great and delightful,” State College resident Jerilynn Stewart said. “It’s more than I expected.”
Her husband Robert Stewart agreed and said that he appreciated the show. The couple’s children who are ages 11, 12 and 14 were also in attendance.
Stewart said that he brought the children so that they could experience the time period and “what the music was like in the 1940s.”
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