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Wrinkles of Washington Logo. Please click on logo to return to home page. Photo of the cast from the Spring 2002 show

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From Sea To Shining Sea

WOW Spring 2002 Production

Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to himself has said,
"This is my own, my native land?"

Much the same poignant sentiment was expressed by Woody Guthrie, a latter day minstrel, who held that from coast to coast and from the western forests to the Gulf of Mexico, "This Land is Your Land" - the land is my land, this land is our land, this land was made for you and me.  Our Spring show was billed as a musical journey across this great land, a mission it fulfilled with all the color, wonder, and enthusiasm so identified with Wrinkles of Washington productions.  It is a geography lesson in music that encompassed the four corners of this nation, from Hawaii to New England - from Dixie to Alaska.

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Conventional wisdom holds that jazz, that wonderful music that is so totally American, was born on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  Jazz was in fact born in the heartland of America, Kansas City, Missouri, and the heart of the heartland was 12th Street.  Hence the "12th Street Rag", performed so superbly by the Prime Time Tappers. We can hardly wait for our terpsichorean beauties to return to Kansas City for yet another super number, "The Petticoat Lane Rag."  Just visualize that costuming!



From Kansas City it’s only a hop, a skip, and a jump to the Cajun country of Louisiana, where the Specialty Dancers find themselves "Down at the Twist and Shout", a lively place and a spirited number that set the tone for our visit to the Southeastern United States.  Vaude deVille, quietly accompanied by Al McClymond on the banjo and Vern Selstad on the harmonica, takes us back to the War Between the States (hardly a civil one) with the homesick cry of a young man longing to return to "Shenandoah."  All over the beautiful Southland we roam.  Frank Kinney boards the "Chattanooga Choo Choo" about a quarter to four to be reunited with his true love in Tennessee.  Mary Margaret McFarland is not so fortunate as she mourns the loss of a lover in the beautiful "Tennessee Waltz."

Lyle Russell pleads for the "Carolina Moon" to keep shining, and Julia Taylor, with the vocal and guitar harmonics of Terry Shaw, pines for the "Country Roads" of West Virginia.  How I love ya, how I love ya, my dear old "Swanee", hums Al McClymond, strumming on the old banjo.  Joanie Roper asks one and all to "Rock A-Bye Your Baby" (with a Dixie melody), and Robert Williams rocks everyone in the hall with a virtuoso saxophone rendition of "Alabama Jubilee."  The Southland, which among other things gave birth to the blues, contributed a whole lot of rhythm and dance to our musical journey.

From the heart of Dixie we head NNW to another hotbed of American music where we find Joan Forst singing of diamond rings, apron strings, and store-bought hair.  We are in eastern Missouri, and she is belting out the "St. Louis Blues" with the magnificent sax of Robert Williams providing the obbligato.  We’re going to hang around the country’s midsection for a bit with Bill Johnson "Goin’ to Kansas City" in company of the Prime Time TappersBill says there’s lots of women in KC, and by gum, he’s gonna get him one!  Then we’re off - not to Louisiana, Paris, France, New York or Rome, but to steel-puddlin’ "Gary, Indiana", Jim Cunningham’s home sweet home.  Frank Kinney, a real rounder, is in again.  He’s got gals in San Francisco and Chattanooga, and now we find that he’s also "Got a Gal in Kalamazoo."  From Iowa, it’s a short trip to "Chicago", where Sherry Christianson does a wonderful solo tap, and then to "Beautiful Ohio", where Michele Penberthy and Roy Rasmussen join lovely voices to celebrate the river or the state or both.

From beautiful Ohio, it is just a short drive to the buoyant harmonies of the "Pennsylvania Polka", performed magnificently by Wrinkles of Washington's answer to the Andrews Sisters.  They look the part, and they surely sing the part!  Thence to the Big Apple, "New York, New York", where Robert Williams assures us that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!  Off now to the cradle of our civilization - Boston - home of the American Revolution and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."  Terry Shaw dons his red, white, and blue hat and proves that he's a real live nephew of his Uncle Sam.  The Specialty Dancers add their own unique pizzazz and piquancy to this most spirited number.  We leave New England with the sweet smell of sycamores as Mary Petzold sings of "Moonlight in Vermont", accompanied by the melodious violin of Dale Seely.

Our inimitable Emcee, Willard "Bill" Dergan, now steers us westward, but not without a wistful stop on the borders of Kansas.  Michele Penberthy searches "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for a land that she heard of once in a lullaby.  If the pit-a-pat of raindrops constitutes a lullaby, her wish comes true in the great Northwest as the Beau Cayes don their foul weather gear and brag about "Singing in the Rain."  But before that there were any number of visits to exciting and even exotic places.  Our westward trek is highlighted by the Four Seniors Only journeying on "Route 66" from Chicago to LA, via such storied locations as Tucumcari, Albuquerque, Barstow, and San Bernardino.  The wind sweeping down the plain inspires a motley bunch of Bashful Balladeers to sing of their beloved "Oklahoma."

We proceed from the panhandle of Oklahoma to the flora of yet another panhandle as the Prime Time Tappers dedicate a rousing number to the sweetest little rosebud - "The Yellow Rose of Texas."  The Prime Time Tappers are indeed busy on the western swing, as they find Chuck Gourley as Elvis (maybe it’s the real Elvis) rehearsing "Viva Las Vegas", in the gambling and show capital of the world.  Frank Kinney tells anyone who will listen that "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", and "Idaho", our wonderful neighbor so rarely recognized in music, is honored in an another brilliant saxophone performance by Robert Williams.  Now we cross the wide Pacific to the sun-drenched island of Maui.  Complete relaxation is ours as Don and Sally Hancock swing, sway, and rattle to the dulcet tones of "Hano-hano Hana Lei."  Never to be outdone, Michele Penberthy and Bill Siegwarth demonstrate their comic genius with a horse opera and the "Montana State Song."  Thankfully, Montana is big enough to handle it!

Oh, the North Countree is a hard countree, that mothers a bloody brood,
And its icy arms hold hidden charms for the greedy, the sinful and lewd . . .

Shades of Robert W. Service as we head for the frozen gold fields, introduced by Don Hancock directing us "North to Alaska" where wild tales are told.  Enter Chilkoot Charlie deVille, a fictional character who became so real that many Alaskans claim to have known him personally.  With Vern Selstad quietly playing "Summertime" on the harmonica, Charlie tells of northern lights and strange sights, and the night on the marge of Lake LeBarge that he undertook "The Cremation of Sam McGee."  As the audience is totally absorbed by this extraordinary soliloquy, we all come to realize that

Strong men rust from the gold and lust that the souls of all do fill
But the wickedest born from the Pole to the Horn, is Chilkoot Charlie deVille!

Pick a park - any park - and you'll find pigeons.  Now visualize our favorite bag lady with green hair and a bad attitude.  Yes, indeed, it is Mary Petzold poisoning "Pigeons in the Park."  Tsk, tsk.  Our geography lesson takes us point to point on the Interstate, where we find Vaude deVille singing of the loneliness of the long distance trucker as he rolls down "The Highway."  We are reminded by the Four Seniors Only that wherever you are in this great land, "It Don’t Mean a Thing" (if it ain’t got that swing).  And as we travel all over this country from sea to shining sea, we join the Prime Time Tappers in saying "Thank God for You!"

We were uniquely honored by special guests, young folks who some day might become as wrinkled as we, and equally as enthusiastic about the things that we do.  The Timberline High School Concert Choir under the direction of Terry Shaw performed brilliantly at both Saturday performances.  We were no less delighted with another young man named Cornell Gilmore, who sang "Georgia On My Mind", and did it beautifully.  This is a high school student with a golden future in music.  Juilliard, be ready!

Our musical journey is not complete without a salute to America.  The Prime Time Tappers once more lead off with a superbly choreographed "Washington Post March."  This is followed by "God Bless the U.S.A." sung with great reverence and feeling by Chuck Gourley to standing audiences.  We conclude with the ensemble and the audience joining in "American The Beautiful" - - - OUR LAND- - -

"FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA!"

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