And who doesn’t love Irving Berlin? Brad Connor & Ben Sears’s American Classics gave the first revival ever of Berlin’s World War I revue Yip! Yip! Yaphank!, which he wrote for his troop mates stationed on Long Island in 1918. The show moved to New York, and on closing night, the cast marched down the aisle singing, “We’re on Our Way to France,” before heading directly to the docks and the war in France. “Oh How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning” and early versions of “Mandy” and “Easter Parade” (“Smile and Show Your Dimple”) were in the score. So was “God Bless America,” but Berlin cut it. (He resurrected it for Kate Smith in 1938.) Sears, Connor, witty “Interlocutor” Bob Jolly, token woman Kerry Dowling, Joe Della Penna (piano), Andrew Cormier (trumpet), Dean Groves (drums), and a terrific cast sparked comic numbers like “They Were All Out of Step But Jim” and added great tenderness to forgotten gems like “Dream On, Little Soldier Boy” (which began with Taps).
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