The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 9, 2012

Tribute to '40s-era music returns for limited engagement at JLT

By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor

JOPLIN, Mo. — Popular demand and a run of sold-out shows means Cecie Fritz gets to enjoy her favorite kind of music again -- as well as Joplin Little Theatre patrons.

The theater will present an encore run of "Let's Swing!", a revue of big-band music from the 1940s. The presentation includes the same cast, decorations and theme -- everything is the same from the theater's sold-out run in February

"When you put your heart and soul into something and see it come out good, it's pretty overwhelming," Fritz said. "I didn't worry about the success. This was just something I wanted to do."

Medley after medley features classics, from "In the Mood" to "Blues in the Night"; from "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" to "Take the 'A' Train." The show also includes a tribute to U.S. troops at the finale.

Fritz said the cabaret-style show, held in connection with Veteran's Day weekend, meshes perfectly. Many of the songs were made popular during the World War II era, she said.

The cast includes theater veterans Rebecca Luebber, Tamara Barnett, Becky Seidl, Chet Fritz, Jim Lile and Kenny Timbrel.

Fritz compiled the revue based on an era of music she grew up with. Joined by bassist Jerry Holcomb and drummer Damon Graue, Fritz does what she did back in her youth: Play swing music on piano.

"I played piano when I was 13 for a dancing school in Webb City," Fritz said. "I played every evening and that gave me my start in keeping regular time, and playing that kind of music."

The rest of the cast are just as enthusiastic to revisit the show. It is being produced as a fundraiser for the theater.

Because of this show's success, Fritz has been asked whether she'd compose similar revues of other eras of music, such as the '60s or '70s. But the '40 mean too much to her.

"I was also raised in the '50s, but that era didn't grab me like the '40s," Fritz said. "It's very special to me. And there's an awful lot of '40s music out there that's not in this show."

Want to go?

"Let's Swing!" will be presented at Joplin Little Theatre. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets: $10. The show is a fundraiser for the theater and is not included in season ticket packages.

Details: 417-623-3638.