Swing! is a musical conceived by Paul Kelly with music by various artists. It celebrates the music of the Swing era of jazz (1930s–1946), including many well-known tunes by artists like Duke Ellington, William "Count" Basie, Benny Goodman and others. It received a nomination for the 2000 Tony Award for Best Musical and other Tony awards.
Swing! premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on December 9, 1999 and closed on January 14, 2001, running for 461 performances. The director and choreographer was Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and the production was supervised by Jerry Zaks. Among the cast were Laura Benanti, Ann Hampton Callaway and Everett Bradley. A US tour began Nov 20, 2000 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
Swing! combines high energy dancing, singing and acrobatics. There is no dialogue in the show, and the story is told entirely through music and dance. The show tries to recreate the swing style of jazz, which used large bands, fixed musical arrangements and solo-driven improvisations. Together with the development of the music, various forms of swing dancing emerged, varying by geographic regions, such as the Lindyhop or Jitterbug in Harlem or the Whip in Houston.
There are also story-driven numbers for example "I'll Be Seeing You", with Scott Fowler and Carol Bentley doing a Gene Kelly kind of ballet.
The show includes music and dance styles from early swing, West Coast, to other jazz styles, and even hip-hop (as shown as in an all-male version of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"). Some of the individual couples, for example Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas, perform their own choreography. Francois and Thomas are established stars in the world of swing, having been the Lindy champions in 1997 The American Swing Dance Championships and the U.S. Open Championships.
Some of the songs have new lyrics, but most are well-known swing-era hits, including "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"; "Sing, Sing, Sing", "Jumpin at the Woodside"; and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)".
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|2000||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Choreography||Lynne Taylor-Corbett||Nominated|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||Harold Wheeler||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Everett Bradley||Won|||
|Ann Hampton Callaway||Won|
|Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated||
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Laura Benanti||Nominated|
|Ann Hampton Callaway||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Lynne Taylor-Corbett||Nominated|
|Best Orchestrations||Harold Wheeler||Nominated|
- Brantley, Ben. "Hit the Hot Notes and Watch 'Em Bounce", The New York Times, December 10, 1999, p. E1
- McBride, Murdoch.Swing Closes Jan. 14 on Broadway; Touring Co. Gets Strong Start in L.A. playbill.com, January 14, 2001
- Carter, Alice."Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's new show's got 'Swing!' Pittsburgh Tribune Review, June 13, 2009
- Swing! amazon.co.uk. Retrieved January 4, 2009
- Swing! Rodgers and Hammerstein. Retrieved January 4, 2009
- Ostlere, Hilary."Swinging On Broadway. – Brief Article – Review – dance reviews"Dance Magazine, November 1999
- Sommer, Elyse."A CurtainUp Review:Swing!" curtainup.com, February 3, 1999
- Swing! guidetomusicaltheatre.com, retrieved January 4, 2009
- Drama Desk Awards and nominations, 1999–2000 dramadesk.com. Retrieved January 4, 2009
- Theatre World winners theatreworldawards.org. Retrieved January 4, 2009
- Tony Awards and niminations, 2000 tonyawards.com. Retrieved January 4, 2009
- Pogrbin, Robin. "Tony Nominations Mirror a Small World", The New York Times, May 9, 2000, p. E1