CARROLLWOOD – Two months following the birth of the USO by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt in February 1941, actor and funnyman Bob Hope was in California at March Air Force Base – then March Field – with celebrities in tow to start an entertainment tradition that still exists today.
Following in the footsteps of the legendary Hope, Carrollwood Players Theatre is putting on a USO-styled musical tribute to honor “the heroes of The Greatest Generation.”
Involved in all aspects of theater for more than 30 years, winner of 2013 Broadway World’s best musical director Nancy Fueyo said, “It is a musical thank you to honor all of those who have fought for our freedom. Sort of our way of saying ‘thank you for your service’ through music and pictures.”
The special limited engagement runs just two days Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17.
Featuring the music made famous by The Andrew Sisters, Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra, among others, the review showcases the vocal talents of Fueyo, Ann Lehman, Jeff Lukas, and recent Carrollwood Idol contestants Chelsea Orvis and Rob L’Ecuyer.
“I adore the music of the 1940s – it is my favorite style of music,” said Fueyo. “The big band sound is amazing. It’s unfortunate that it is slowly dying. The audience should expect a wonderful evening of entertainment as we cruise down memory lane.”
The show’s director, Ann Lehman, won a theater Nancy award for her performance in “Caberet” and has been a regular to its stage since discovering Carrollwood Players Theatre in the shopping complex on Gunn Highway.
Lehman shares a passion for the music of the 1940s, but creating the musical tribute has a special meaning for its director and history buff. Lehman’s father told her stories about the war. Sadly, he passed away before her vision was realized.
“I really wanted to do this for my parents and their friends as a way to say thank you for all that they did for their kids and our future,” said Lehman. “My mom is unable to attend, but I know both my mom and dad would be pleased with what Nancy and I have put together.”
To learn more about the special event, visit www.carrollwoodplayers.org. Tickets are $10 and are available online, at the box office, or by phone at (813) 265-4000. The family-friendly review is at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.