Wellington Square United Church putting on a musical to honour Remembrance Day and Canada’s 150th birthday.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

November 2, 2017


1942 – America – The Stage Door Canteen – a place where Bette Davis served the desserts. Marlene Dietrich and Lauren Bacall danced the night away. Red Skelton told the jokes and Bing Crosby crooned. The place was the Stage Door Canteen and the guests were the steady stream of GIs headed off to war. Many were leaving home for the first time and the Canteen offered a welcome opportunity to forget their anxieties—if only for a time—with entertainment, fellowship and a little American spirit.

Wellington Square United Church will be putting on a musical: Stage Door Canteen, at 1.30 pm on November 5th.

The original Stage Door Canteen was a bustling social club established in New York in 1942 that became a home away from home for soldiers, sailors and marines. Similar clubs spread across the United States and as far away as London and Paris.

It’s here where hordes of servicemen and young women put worries of the war aside and danced to the music of famous bands. They listened to stars such as Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby sing “As Time Goes By” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”. Actress Helen Hayes served sandwiches and famous actors cleared away plates.
Memories of this bustling social club will come alive again at Wellington Square United Church.

Stage Door canteen

What began as a place for service people to gather and relax went on to become a Broadway show that played around the world.

It’s a musical trip down memory lane that begins with lunch at 1 p.m. followed by the show, Stage Door Canteen, at 1.30 p.m.

“The purpose of the show is to honour Remembrance Day, and Canada’s 150th birthday, and allow people to sing those songs again while reviving the hope of that day,” said Juanita Maldonado, musical director at Wellington Square and an accomplished singer, pianist, organist and guitarist.

The program includes a wide variety of entertainers such as a dynamic new musical group out of Burlington, called Hotsy Totsy, who will sing old standards from the 1940s and 1950s. Complete with costumes and characters, they will take guests back on a nostalgic journey to the war and post-war years in Canada and England. A 12-person troupe of senior dance performers who specialize in tap, jazz, clogging, hip-hop and musical theatre will also entertain.

“A lot of the music at the Stage Door Canteen was filled with a longing for someone to return from the war,” said Maldonado. “One thing that I love most are the songs that tell stories of those who have been away, and come back, such as ‘Kiss Me Once and Kiss Me Twice, It’s Been a Long, Long Time.”

Tickets are $20. and everyone who attends is encouraged to join in the program and sing along.

To purchase a ticket, please call the church office at 905-634-1849.

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