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‘All Night Strut’ brings Big Band tunes to the stage

By From page B1 | July 18, 2014

FAIRFIELD — It was kismet.

Schedules were open for the four original cast members. So was a venue for performances.

Reuniting for the musical revue “All Night Strut” would also provide a chance for the singers and dancers to get back on the stage, after taking breaks from a few months to a few years.

“I picked this show because I missed singing with Pam (Wadenius), Frank (Salamone) and Robert (Wilson),” said Barbara McFadden, artistic director of Fairfield Civic Theatre, the group behind the show.

The run, which starts Thursday, will mark the third time the four have done ”All Night Strut.” There is a joke among the cast that only Barbara could get everyone together for this, McFadden said.

It will be the first time theater veterans Jeremy Kreamer and Kat Ray have been part of the show.

“They add so much to the show,” McFadden said.

“All Night Strut” is also providing a forum for Fairfield Civic Theatre to put its name in lights again.

“Fairfield Civic Theatre hasn’t been real active lately,” said McFadden.

The death of member Anita Elliott in August 2012 put a “little cloud” over the group, McFadden said.

She promises an “Andrews Sisters” look and feel to the show which, through music, travels through the Depression, World War II and the post-war boom.

Music from artists such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Johnny Mercer is featured.

“It’s really fun music,” McFadden said. “It’s a good show for the whole family.”

There’s even some dancing. Kreamer and Ray will tackle the moves, such as the fox trot, swing, tango and waltzes, as well as some singing.

“Us older characters like to sing more than dancing today,” McFadden said, in jest.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, where McFadden runs the music ministry, is the venue. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the church, which began in 1979. McFadden has always wanted to do a fundraiser for her church, she said.

The staging is simple. Chuck McFadden, Barbara McFadden’s brother, is constructing the set. Rehearsals have been in school and living rooms when the church’s golden dome was being used.

The venue will be set up to resemble an old jazz club, with an intimate seating, she said. There will be room for the audience to dance, if they wish.

A three-piece combo, piano, bass and drums, will play live.

McFadden suspects the show will bring back memories for some audience members.

For others, it may be an introduction to the tunes of that time, including cast member Kreamer. He estimated he was not familiar with about 80 percent of the songs featured.

“The music is super hard,” he said. “The harmonies are so precise. I haven’t done a show this musically challenging in a long time.”

He’s loving every minute of it and has discovered a love for the tune “Tuxedo Junction,” Kreamer said.

Ray jumped into rehearsals a few days after returning from her honeymoon. She is the daughter of Barbara McFadden and was familiar with the show.

Her favorite song in the show is “Minnie the Moocher.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.


“All Night Strut”

  • Fairfield Civic Theatre production
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, July 25-26
  • 1 p.m. July 26
  • 4 p.m. July 27
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church Golden Dome
  • 2700 Dover Ave., Fairfield
  • 580-6514
  • www.actsing.wix.com/ffct
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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