Filled with popular 1940’s musical numbers and historically-relevant themes, Swing Time – The Musical! has come to Washington, D.C. Showcasing an important time in American history, this spectacular is the perfect addition to any Washington, D.C. student tour.
Director Mike Thornton shares a bit of information about the production.
What can groups expect when they go to see Swing Time – The Musical!?
Groups can expect a delightful musical revue that features six singers and a three-piece jazz band. From the moment the student walks into the theater, they are transported into the World War II era in which this "live radio broadcast" takes place. Authentic movie tone film reels of the day greet the audience as they enter the auditorium, setting the fascinating mood that was 1943.
Why is Swing Time great for students?
Swing Time is interactive, and allows the students to hear the wonderful sound and see the styles of the era. Plus several students will have the chance to be directly involved in the show. After the performance, there is a Q & A session in which students can speak directly to the actors about the fascinating time period.
How does the content of the show relate to surrounding Washington, D.C. attractions?
One of my favorite parts about producing Swing Time is that the two venues we use are historically relevant in the context of the show. The Burke Theater at the U.S. Navy Memorial resides in the Heritage Center, a museum that memorializes naval and marine battles and service throughout US history. The Miracle Theater on Barracks Row is also quite historical; it is a 100-year-old movie/vaudeville house that reflects the era perfectly.
Outside of the venue, Washington, D.C. has a wonderful WWII Memorial that explains a lot about the context of the show.
In addition to the show itself, what are some other features that groups can enjoy?
Selfies! Students love selfies with the actors! Our actors are very accommodating in this way.
Are there any activities or readings that groups can do in preparation for watching the show?
The history of World War II would contribute to students’ understanding of the play, and there are a couple specific aspects they could focus on. Swing Time is about folks who send over “music care packages” to the troops overseas. Students could learn about this and the popularity of "V Discs," or victory discs (LP records).
Swing Time takes place in the 1940’s, but what elements make it relevant today?
It's wonderful to see young performers singing and dancing to music from our grand/great-grandparents time. Having a 25-year-old singer performing a song that is 70 or 80 years old brings it to life and makes it relevant to today's kids. Students love to ask questions of the actors after the show as to what the war was like for them personally. It's cool to see how the personalities and problems from 80 years ago are not so different from today's.