Pennswood’s 2019 Musical Revue Brings “Big City Fun” to Bucks County
There’s a good chance that “Big City Fun,” a musical revue performed by Pennswood Village residents, still has its audience humming a tune and tapping their feet. The annual resident-run musical event, which debuted on May 6 and May 7 in Penn Hall, featured 25 musical numbers from the Great American Songbook.
Rhoda Rice and Mary Smith, co-chairs of the Pennswood Musical Committee, worked with Kurt Martin, a professional musician, to organize the show. Kurt, the musical director, identified 10 cast members, who had appeared in previous Pennswood musicals, and five other individuals from the Pennswood Singers.
“Kurt loves working with us,” Rhoda said. “He says we have a zest for life and we’re fun to be around.” Although auditions were not required, Rhoda emphasized that participants needed to have a desire to perform in front of an audience.
A thematic thread
Rhoda came up with the name “Big City Fun” after cast members submitted musical numbers to perform that highlighted New York City and Paris. From there, Mary used the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building as the show’s backdrop. Resident Elaine Daniels also helped set the stage for the Paris scenes with red-and-white-checkered-tablecloth café tables. Musical acts featured group numbers, solos and duets. Although plenty of “torch” songs spotlighted talented singers, the musical was a collaborative production—no divas allowed. “We’re all in it together,” Mary said.
Some of the show’s classic “American Standards” included:
- The Night They Invented Champagne (Gigi)
- Put On Your Sunday Clothes (Hello, Dolly!)
- Do You Hear the People Sing? (Les Miserables)
- Sidewalks of New York (Mel Torme/Duke Ellington)
- Swingin’ on a Star (Bing Crosby, Going My Way)
- Second Hand Rose (Ziegfeld Follies/Funny Girl)
- Theme from New York, New York (Liza Minnelli, New York, New York)
- Stormy Weather (Ethel Waters)
Take-home tunes for a full house
Approximately 250 residents attended “Big City Fun.” Despite the absence of Broadway reviews, the audience left the show with plenty of hummable, take-home tunes.
“It’s such a worthwhile event for all of us,” Mary shared. “I think we brought joy to everyone who saw it.” And Rhoda agreed: “People came out of the show smiling.”
Another year in the making
After five weeks of rehearsing three times a week, Rhoda has the post-production blues, but she and Mary eagerly await next year’s musical, especially with the future renovations to Penn Hall. True to Pennswood’s philosophy of community and inclusion, Mary and Rhoda encourage thespians and singers to make themselves known or join the Pennswood Singers, a group that meets every Friday at 11 a.m.
If you’re a fan of the arts, Pennswood Village is a place where your talents will thrive. To learn more about our community and the cultural arts opportunities available here, call us today at 215-504-1118, or request a free information kit online.