Come in Swingin’: Andrews Sisters Tribute Show
The Andrews Sisters are coming to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival! Peter Burdon spoke to creator Sherry-Anne Hayes.
Back in 2008, Perth muso Sherry-Anne Hayes realised a long-considered dream of putting together a show based on the fabulous Andrews Sisters. “I’ve done a few swing shows over the years, and I love the style, so it seemed an obvious choice. But you can’t imagine how hard it was,” Sherry-Anne says with a chuckle. “It’s music that everyone knows. But once you get past ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ there’s practically nothing to make a show with. A few of the pieces have piano versions, but the magic of the Andrews Sisters was their three part singing, and the arrangements don’t exist! They used to learn the songs while they were on the road, and made up the harmonies in the back of their dad’s Buick on their way to the recording studio!”
Not being afraid of a challenge, Sherry-Anne smiled sweetly at partner Tim Cunniffe, who happens to be an experienced musical director, and things started to take shape. “Tim’s done a fantastic job,” she says. “He sat there listening to recordings for weeks and wrote out the parts. What a man! And he’s done the arrangements for the band. It’s a great sound, really authentic but with a bit of a modern twist.”
Perth audiences are well acquainted with the Swing Time show. “We’ve got quite a following in Perth,” Sherry-Anne continues, “but it’s a long way away, and we’ve been trying to find an excuse to head east for a few years, so the opportunity to bring the show to Adelaide was ideal. And it’ll be a great fit, and reminder that the American cabaret repertoire is more than solo songs.” But wait, there’s more. “Oh yes,” Sherry-Anne says with a laugh. “We learnt a lot from their radio shows, which are a whole lot more than just music. It’s like being part of the live audience at a radio broadcast. We sing songs, we answer letters from fans, we do the kitschy radio advertisements, it’s fun.”
“We deliberately decided to portray the girls early on,” Sherry-Anne explains, “and the clothes are fabulous, I must say. Those skirts and shirts, and the shoes, I can’t believe they lived in them for all those years! Fortunately there’s a lot of photography that points you in the right direction of the look, and we don’t look too bad, if I say so myself!”
The Andrews Sisters Swing Time is in the Banquet Room from 15 – 17 June. Book at Bass.