Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Jukebox Saturday Night with the Swingaroos
Florida Studio Theatre
William S. Oser


Kimberly Hawkey and Oliver Bonie (background)
Photo by Paola Hernandez-Bitter
Yippee! The Swingaroos are back in town at Florida Studio Theatre's Bowne's Theatre Lab with an all new program, Jukebox Saturday Night with the Swingaroos saluting America's love affair through the years with the nickel-eating music machine. The first half concentrates on an early era, roughly 1920s through 1940s, while the second half covers 1950s forward. Frankly, when putting together their programs, Kimberly Hawkey (vocals) and Assaf Gleizner (piano and arrangements) could have focused more clearly, chronologically or stylistically, but based on how much I love this group, I am willing to just enjoy them, however they present their programs.

Along with Ms. Hawkey and Mr. Gleizner, Uri Zelig is on drums as he has been on each of their three previous Sarasota visits, and this time out Michael Brownell is on double bass and vocals and Oliver Bonie plays clarinet, alto sax and vocals.

The first half opens with "Happy Days Are Here Again" in its original uptempo version. Almost everyone familiar with the song today knows it the way Barbra Streisand reinvented it, as a torch song. Some of the other selections from this half include "Tonight You Belong to Me," "Thanks for the Boogie Ride," Tennessee Waltz," which links into an instrumental on Chopin's "Minute Waltz," "Is You Is or Is You Ain't (My Baby)," "Heart and Soul," and ending with the Glenn Miller hit "Jukebox Saturday Night."

The second half opens with Teresa Brewer's mega hit "Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)" and proceeds through "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66," Night Train," "Hound Dog," and "Que Sera, Sera" among others. The highlight of this set and indeed the entire show is a blazing version of "Cry Me a River." The set ends with a jukebox medley, everyone chiming in with their favorites.

Besides being an extraordinary singer, Ms. Hawkey has great stage deportment. Her outfits are always a treat for the eye and this outing is no exception. She also sings a couple of vocal obligatos during the evening, once sounding like a muted trumpet and another time a sax. Even having seen her do this before, I was looking around to see where the sounds were coming from before I completely realized.

Florida Studio Theatre is to be thanked for their ongoing relationship with this great group. Federal stimulus money from the early pandemic days was used to fund the creation of this newest program from The Swingaroos.

Jukebox Saturday Night with the Swingaroos runs through October 31, 2021, at Florida Studio Theatre, Bowne's Lab, 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota FL. For tickets and performance information, please call the box office at 941-366-9000 or visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org.

Cast:
Olive Bonie: Saxophone, clarinet, vocals
Michael Brownell: Double Bass, vocals
Assaf Gleizner: Piano
Kimberly Hawkey: Vocals
Uri Zelig: Drums


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