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Lynne Lubash
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Swing! - The Broadway Musical

by Lynne Lubash
January 13, 2001
New York, NY

Swing! - The Broadway Musical

By Lynne B. Lubash


Where: St. James Theatre, New York City

When: January 13, 2001, Matinee

Reviewer: Lynne B. Lubash

Swing! ran on Broadway from December 9, 1999 to January 14, 2001. Through a string of fortuitous coincidences, I learned on the Wednesday before its closing that its run was about to end and snapped up two of the musical's remaining tickets.

Swing! included West Coast, Country-Western, Latin and traditional Swing dancing as well as a band and four jazz/pop singers. While it didn't work all that well as a cohesive unit, taken as separate segments, it was a lot of fun.

As the show is no longer running on Broadway, this is not a traditional review. Instead, I'd like to focus on a different theme, that is, the power Swing dancing and the music to which it is performed has to bring together the generations. I attended the show with my father who is in his seventies. He is not a huge dance fan, although he does claim that he and his sister were the top ballroom dance couple on the campus of the University of Texas in the years 1946-1947. I have no way to confirm this, but I do know that he is a big fan of all the songs from the late 1930's through the early 1950's that were used in Swing! such as "In the Mood," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," and "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got that Swing". My father and I were able to share the experience of the show through different perspectives. I appreciated the complexity and beauty of the dancing, and he was able to reminisce to the songs of his youth.

In addition, there seemed to be quite a few school field trips present in the audience so that young children were exposed both to classic songs and Swing dancing. Whether or not they realize the history of this art form, they enjoyed the show as much as the seniors in the audience.

It is not just Swing dancing which cuts across generational lines. I have seen grandparents and grandchildren brought closer by dancing the Foxtrot together. I have heard a father and son debate the historical origins of the Quickstep during a dance exhibition. Personally, I hope to have children one day to whom I can introduce the beauty of ballroom dancing. Of course, life being what it is, their favorite dance may well be the Hustle!

If Swing! should happen to go on the road and play near you, go, and be reminded of the perennial joy of dance.

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