Among the most popular of the 70-odd programs that the AFRS distributed each week to its 800 armed forces broadcast facilities worldwide were 3 variety shows: Command Performance, Mail Call, and Jubilee. Recorded to transcription discs from performances presented to live audiences in Los Angeles, these 30 minute shows featured a constantly-rotating parade of stars serving both as emcee and guest artists, including many regulars like Bob Hope (the few times he wasn’t on tour with his USO unit), Kate Smith, Bing Crosby, and Judy Garland, and just about any entertainer who could be pulled in quickly from their studio work in order to fill a request for a song or just about anything else that reminded the soldiers of life back home or gave them a great laugh: the sound of Lana Turner cooking up a porter house steak, Ann Miller tap dancing in army boots, a sigh from Carol Landis, Bing Crosby mixing a bourbon and soda for Bob Hope, or, as an older serviceman stationed in the South Pacific requested, anyone singing a verse of that WWI he so much loved when he served in that earlier war, “Keep The Home Fires Burning” (to which the entire studio audience obliged, led by Kate Smith). Filled with easy banter, plenty of vaudeville comedy, great songs by top artists, fun responses to requests, and plenty of calls outs and words of encouragement to servicemen in the field, these programs did much to boost morale.
For our annual cabaret evening, Jesse Cloninger and the Festival big band are joined by our own parade of stars in a 3-set re-creation, drawing songs, jokes, and “requests from the field” skits from the original 1942-45 programs, including a significant portion of the legendary February 15, 1945 Command Performance special, Dick Tracy In B Flat.
The format for the evening will be our usual cabaret layout: top-ticketed cabaret seating down front of the main floor, and reserved seating up in the balcony, with a full bar in the Tykeson Lobby. We get going at 7 pm--an hour earlier than the Festival's other evening concerts--with 2 intermissions. While dressing up is not required, in the spirit of the event we encourage it (especially if you go period!).
, reedsJoe Manis
Idit Shner, reedsDave Bender
Justin Woodward, trumpetGlenn Griffith
, tromboneVicki Brabham
, pianoMichael Radliff
, guitarMerlin Showalter
, drumsNathan Waddell
, bassEmerald City Jazz Kings
, the band
| ||How About You?|
(1941) Babes On Broadway Ralph Freed (w) Burton Lane (m)
| ||Cow Cow Boogie|
(1942) Ride 'Em, Cowboy Gene de Paul, Benny Carter (w) Don Raye (m)
|SET III "Dick Tracey in B flat"|