Last updateWed, 14 Oct 2020 1pm


The Music of 1940’s comes to Pollak

1940Pollak Theater had a full house on Sunday when audiences came for a 1940s music revue, In the Mood. The revue has come to the University every year for the last three or four years, making it an annual event. The sold out show even had to add extra chairs as general admission seats to meet the demand for tickets.

The show took the audience back to the year 1940 and asked audience members to turn off all their electronics because, “They were not invented when this show takes place, and they are annoying. We’d also like you to take this time to unwrap anything in cellophane, which was invented during this time period, but is also annoying.”

The show had The String of Pearls Orchestra, a 13 piece band, playing with six singers and dancers. Each orchestra member got their own solo throughout the night and even contributed their voices to a couple songs. Each of the six singers and dancers got to show off their talents with both song and dance solos.

Unfortunately, the singers were sometimes hard to hear over the big band orchestra. However, their high notes were loud and clear all the way in the back of Pollak Theater.

The costumes were also impressive. Performers dressed in traditional 1940s apparel for the first half, and when they came back from intermission in 1944, they switched to the uniforms of military members. The women dressed like USO performers while the men dressed as army and navy members. One woman dressed as a nurse and recreated the famous Time Square kiss with one of the men dressed as a sailor.

The performers mentioned that President Roosevelt had said that entertainers could contribute to the war effort as well. While acting as a soldier, one performer explained, “For many of us, music is what keeps the hope alive.”

There was even some audience participation. Performers encouraged the audience to sing along to “Hey! Ba Ba Re Bop,” though some audience members could be heard singing throughout most of the songs. In The Mood also honored the veterans in the audience. The lights were turned up and the performers asked veterans to stand up according to which branch they served in. Active members and veterans of the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Army made up a good portion of the audience. At least 50 or so members of the audience were veterans and received applause for their efforts.

Teresa Gleason, junior, enjoyed the audience participation. “It really got the crowd involved and all the audience loved it, and that was the best part, seeing all the people really enjoy the performance,” Gleason said.

The show had some flaws. The dances were great, but the six performers had a hard time staying in sync with each other sometimes. One or two of them would usually be a step behind. Also, the sound board was set up in the middle of Pollak Theatre which was distracting and blocked a small portion of the stage from those sitting further back. That doesn’t mean the audience didn’t enjoy the show though. Some didn’t find anything at all to complain about.

Bill Raheb of Lakewood said “[The performance was] delightful. This is the first time I’ve seen this show. It was great! The performers were terrific, the band was terrific! I couldn’t spot a flaw in the whole thing.”

Raheb was pleased to recognize many songs. “Almost every song they started off, I knew the front words to,” Raheb said. He bought tickets after his daughter mentioned there was a show at the University with big band music from the thirties and forties, something Raheb is a fan of.

Ruth Bassini of Fair Haven is also a fan of the music. Bassini said, “I was a teenager when the war started so I grew up with all the music in the forties and all that, brings a lot of memories.”

This was Bassini’s second time seeing the show. “I’m here because this is music of my generation. I’ve been here before, but it’s such a good show. It’s wonderful,” Bassini said.

The music doesn’t just appeal to older audiences, although they made up much of the ticketholders at Pollak Theater. Gleason, a music industry major, mentioned that she loved 1940s music. As I listened to the show, I realized that I knew the lyrics to plenty of the songs such as “The Very Thought of You” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”

In the Mood repeatedly says, “This was the time when music moved the nation’s spirit!” It didn’t exactly move my spirit, but it was a very enjoyable show.

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu