The likes of Judy Garland, Wayne and Shuster, and the Andrews Sisters brought levity and enjoyment to difficult times 75 years ago.
It was the Second World War and while sadness was definitely part of the common emotional scale, performers of all kinds used their skills to bring a distraction from the obvious concerns both at home and abroad.
Until Everyone Comes Home is a variety show with music, songs, and entertainment from the Second World War put on by Langley Centennial Museum and Trinity Western Universityâ€™s (TWU) School of the Arts, Media + Culture (SMAC) at the Chief Sepass Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.
Local community performers and TWU student performers will contribute to the show with singing, dancing, and comedy vignettes.
While the name of the show comes from the USO, there is much more of an international flavour to be seen, according to Allan Thorpe, chair of TWUâ€™s music department.
â€œIn putting the show together, the event planning team looked at British, Canadian, and American entertainers who were popular on stage, in movie theatres, on records, and on radio programs of the era,â€ said Thorpe. â€œWe will be highlighting the work of Canadian and British artists before the intermission, and completing the afternoon with works associated with American entertainers of the 1940s.â€
The show not only entertains but also honours the individuals who were able to help lighten the burdens of the day with some laughter and applause. The talented cast was lined up by the museum, SAMC, and local talent agent Sandy Dunkley.
Peter Tulumello, cultural services manager with the Township of Langley was pleased with the ability to include a well known performance.
He expressed gratitude â€œto the families of the late Wayne and Shuster who granted us permission to use a routine from The Army Show, which was co-written and performed by those two giants of comedy.â€
â€œI am excited to see what performers Chris Nash and Tom Gage can do with the scripts and how they will transition from Wayne and Shuster in the first half of our show into Abbott and Costello during the second half,â€ Tulumello added.
Along with Chris Nash and Tom Cage, local performers making up the cast include: Hayley Bouey, a singer and actress who won the Kwantlen University Scholarship prize at Langley Has Talent. She will be singing torchlight songs.
Langleyâ€™s Douglas Fraser will serve as master of ceremonies and will sing Youâ€™ll Get Used to It, while singer and actress Elizabeth MacPherson will be performing songs by Vera Lynn.
Eva Tavares, a graduate from Langley Fine Arts as well as the UBC School of Music Opera Program, will sing songs by Academy award winning Canadian-born actress and singer Deanna Durbin.
Tavares is also a member of the headlining feature act, The Lady Larks, who will be performing the music of the Andrews Sisters.
Another Langley local, Ahnika Barber, is currently enrolled at Langley Fine Arts and will be singing songs by Judy Garland. Performance-goers may notice a resemblance between Barber and Garland of both voice and appearance.
â€œAlthough war was raging on in Europe and most thoughts were focused there, some of the best music, comedy, and entertainment came out of that 1940s period,â€ said Tulumello. â€œMany actors, musicians, comedians, and singers came to the forefront to help boost morale among troops and keep those on the home front hopeful of victory and of the safe return of family members and friends.â€
Tied in with the museumsâ€™ exhibition: Mementoes and Memories â€“ Langley and the Second World War (which runs until Remembrance Day), the nostalgic variety show is expected to sell out quickly.
For $25, tickets can be purchased through the museum at museum.tol.ca or by calling TWU at 604-532-3536. If any tickets remain unsold, they will be available for $30 at the door.
"Ticket sales have been steady all week long but the museum is still recommending that people call ahead if they are hoping to buy their ticket at the door. Better safe than sorry with a purchase in advance," Tulumello said. "When we held the Vaudeville Variety show in 2013 we sold out two days before the show opened and it could very well happen again"