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Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters

Sisters of SwingSeptember 4 – October 14
Written by Beth Gilleland and Bob Beverage
Musical arrangements by Raymond Berg

Produced by special arrangement with Bob Beverage.

They sold over 90 million records, nine of them gold. They had more Top Ten hits than the Beatles or Elvis. And they are still one of the best-selling female vocal groups of all time. Audiences understand why when they see Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters. In its short interim, Sisters of Swing has charmed and sold-out to audiences in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Oregon, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Musical Numbers
Director Notes
Cast Bios
Production Staff Bios
Theme Dinners
Sisters of Swing Press Release
Read a recent story about Sisters of Swing in the Goshen News
Read a recent story about Sisters of Swing in the South Bend Tribune
Read a recent review of Sisters of Swing in the Paper
Read a recent blog post about Sisters of Swing

Sisters of Swing
Archive Photographs


A Note from the Director…

Memories are delicate yet powerful things.  It’s funny how almost anything can transport us to a different place or time.  A music box, a newspaper clipping, the smell of pine needles, an old book…  But by far, the most powerful trigger of memory for me is music. 
The Andrews Sisters are a part of many of my own memories.  I can remember decorating the Christmas tree listening to Bing and the Andrews Sisters amazing version of “Jingle Bells”, learning to swing dance to “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen”, and baking cookies with my grandmother while “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” played. 
The Andrews Sisters don’t just represent these small moments in our lives.  They were amazing vocalists, progressive musicians, and prolific performers.  The accomplishments of these women are hard to fathom for most of today’s recording artists.  They have sold nearly 100 million records and recorded over 600 singles.  Their music has been used in films, plays, video games, club and hip hop music, and they were even immortalized as Muppets.  They had 113 Billboard hits and appeared in 17 Hollywood films.  Their music is still listened to all over the world (as of this writing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” is number 67 on the iTunes jazz chart).
Obviously, we can only highlight a small part of this prolific career, but we hope that this small slice of their lives will bring back memories of simpler times, as we highlight the greatest era of American music and the greatest female singing group of the 20th Century.

Amber Burgess


Amish AcresA Note from the Music Director…

The Andrews Sisters became musical sensations early in their life during the famous swing and boogie-woogie eras.  While they have aged and passed on (except for Patty w ho is still living in California at the age of 94), their music has stood the test of time.  They presented incredible arrangements, many from Vic Schoen, and a blend that could impress the harshest critics.  Their efforts to accomplish perfection included wanting to sound as “one voice” so listeners could not distinguish who was singing which part.  Vic Schoen was one of the very few self taught composer/arrangers to achieve his level of notoriety.  Most of his music was composed and arranged by ear and he rarely sat down at a piano to write anything out, making it more impressive when you think about the complex harmonies he wrote for the Andrews Sisters.  So please relish in the harmonies and beautiful arrangements you are about to hear.  I think you will find that the three very talented ladies in this production do them justice.  As always, thank you for supporting live theatre and enjoy the show!

Travis Smith


Sisters of Swing Cast




Olivia Corbello



Em Laudeman



Emily Baer



Rory Dunn



Travis Smith



Sarah Philabaum


Sisters of Swing Staff


Executive Producer


Richard Pletcher

Associate Producer


George Bush

Artistic Director


Jeremy Littlejohn



Amber Burgess

Music Director


Travis Smith

Production Stage Manager/Props


Monica Gauer

Technical Director


Ted Lantz



Catherine Menkel-Lawrence

ASM/Sound Designer


Spencer Holdeman

Set Designer


Richard Pletcher

Lighting Designer


Jeremy Littlejohn

Dance Captain


Sarah Philabaum

Box Office Manager


Jennifer Scheffer

Archive Videographer


Steve Jones


Time & Place

This is a memory play.  It flows seamlessly from one scene to another.  Some scenes are played realistically and some are played surrealistically as if culled from a dream.


Musical Numbers

Act I


Three Little Fishes


Near You


Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (Means That You're Grand)

Well, Alright

Hold Tight

Accentuate the Positive

I Love You Much Too Much

Lille Postbud

Beer Barrel Polka

Act II

Six Jerks in a Jeep

Corns For My Country

I Can Dream Can't I?

All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)

Rum and Coca-Cola

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)

I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Woody Woodpecker

Carmen Boogie

Three Little Fishes

Count Your Blessings


Sisters of Swing Cast Bios


Emily Baer (LaVerne) is happy to be back for a sixth season on the Round Barn Stage. You may remember her as Dolly in Hello Dolly, Grizabella in Cats, Kaye in The Taffetas, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance or any number of roles in Plain and Fancy. Growing up in the area it was always a treat to get to see shows at Amish Acres. She never expected someday this stage would be like a second home. When Emily is not performing she enjoys her time as an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay. She is excited to be working on earning her first free car this year!



Olivia Corbello (Patty) is a recent graduate from the Musical Theatre program at Texas State University where she received her BFA under the direction of Kaitlin Hopkins. She hopes to always bring the many things she has learned to her professional work, with The Round Barn Theatre being her first. Olivia’s last college production at TSU was Hair, in which she played Ronny and grew so much as a performer and person. 

“Love to my sweet, sweet family back home in Texas, Mom, Dad & Sven.”


Rory Dunn (Man) is 30 years old like most men of his age. He has performed in various theatres all over the country and even starred in a short film internationally. Some of his favorite roles include Adam in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the title role in Sweeney Todd, Jeff in [Title of Show], and Judd in Oklahoma. This year he is most excited about getting to portray Danny Kaye in Sisters of Swing as Kaye was one of Rory's childhood idols. Rory also loves getting to perform in the Theater for Young Audiences shows that The Round Barn Theatre puts on throughout the year and is very glad that Miss Nelson was found. Rory would like to thank his family and friends for their unending support.

Em Laudeman (Maxene) is happy to be returning home to the Round Barn Theatre for her second time this season! After playing Signe in Church Basement Ladies, Em spent her summer in Western Nebraska performing as Laurey in Oklahoma! and Patty Simcox in Grease. Em spent much of her childhood at the Round Barn Theatre performing in shows including Fiddler on the Roof  as Chava, Bye Bye Birdie as Kim, and of course Plain and Fancy as Katie. Em enjoys rainy days, sitting under apple trees, and believes that money is the root of all evil.




Sarah Philabaum (Swing) is thrilled to return to The Round Barn Theatre for her second season in a row! She was absolutely delighted to play Katie Yoder last year for a brief time in the 25th Anniversary production of Plain and Fancy. Sarah holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory, and is so grateful to have performed in so many different kinds of shows all across the country. Favorite roles include: Mrs. Fezziwig in the National Tour of A Christmas Carol, Woman 2 in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Hold Me, Touch Me in The Producers

“Many thanks to those who always believed in me and inspired me to pursue my dreams.”

Amish AcresTravis Smith (Pianist/Music Director) is returning to Amish Acres after spending the last few seasons performing and Music Directing various productions.  Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he has worked with several theatres across the Midwest.  Travis is also an accomplished Composer and Arranger, currently working on a new production entitled Steeple People Gospel about a male gospel quartet.

“Enjoy the show and please visit!”




Sisters of Swing Staff Biographies

Amber Burgess (Director) is pleased to return to Amish Acres after a four year hiatus, and is very pleased to be making her Round Barn Theatre directorial debut. She has been involved in theatre (acting, costuming, and directing) since 1988.  Amber studied musical theatre at Millikin University in Decatur, IL and also has a BA in Social Sciences from Ashford University (where she authored a study on bullying in schools, and found involvement in theatre arts eliminated many risk factors for bullying).  She is also the assistant principal violist for the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.  Producing/Directing/Music Directing credits include Anton in Show Business (Lighted Match Theater, Chicago), The Wizard of Oz (Provision Theatre Co, Chicago), The House of Bernarda Alba (Fargo, ND), Women and Wallace (Little Theatre, Jamestown, ND) and 45 Minutes from Broadway (Frontier Follies, Jamestown, ND).  Amber is originally from Jamestown, ND and now lives in Chicago with her dog Oxford. 

Monica Gauer (Production Stage Manager) was born and raised in nearby Laporte, Indiana.  She graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a B.A. in Theater Arts, after which she married her high school sweetheart.  When she was younger, Monica remembered coming to the Round Barn Theatre and now she is excited to work here behind the scenes.  She hopes you enjoy the show!

Spencer Holdeman (Sound Designer) is 22 years old and was born and raised here, in Nappanee.  He attended ITT Tech and is thrilled to be spending his second season designing Sound here at the Round Barn Theatre.

Ted Lantz (Technical Director) is in his second season at the Round Barn Theatre after retiring from 34 years in Education.  He is at home on a stage, having been involved in Show Choir and Drama at Bremen High School.  A native of the Nappanee area, Ted resides with his wife, Chris, in nearby Wakarusa.  He enjoys frequent trips to his Alma Mater, Manchester College where his daughter, Kelsey, is a senior.  He especially enjoys visiting Maine, where his son, Jordan, is a student at Bowdoin College.

Catherine Menkel-Lawrence (Wardrobe) is happy to be working in her premier season with The Round Barn Theatre. A native of Newport, Oregon she is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Recent credits include Northwest Opera In Schools Etc's Hansel and Gretl, Costumer, Weathervane 2011 season, Stitcher, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Costume Intern.

Jeremy Littlejohn (Artistic Director) is a native Hoosier who has been performing his entire life and getting paid for it for the past fifteen years!  There isn’t much Jeremy hasn’t done at Amish Acres having now worked here in three different decades both on the Joseph Stein Stage and in the Historic Area.  He is probably remembered for his performance credits, but is most proud of introducing straight plays to the Round Barn patrons by way of the Second Stage.  He has logged over 700 performances of Plain and Fancy, playing all of the male roles, and directed the show four times; including the 20th Anniversary Season.  Some of his other notable RBT accomplishments include directing Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, which is the most attended production in the theater’s history, starring in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Fiddler on the Roof, which are in the top five on that list, and his Masterwork, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.  In addition to being an Actor / Director, Jeremy is also an accomplished Lighting Designer, Stage Manager and Teacher. 

“This Act ain’t much, but through it, I’ve met Kings and Queens and I got to meet you.”   – From The Will Rogers Follies; Lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green

Richard Pletcher (Producer), with his father LaVern, founded Amish Acres in 1968. The Amish farm was preserved and restored and is now listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Following a one year experiment in dinner-theatre with George Bledsoe in 1971, he added musical theatre to the interpretation of the historic farm by producing Plain and Fancy in the Locke Township Meeting House in 1986. It moved to the Round Barn Theatre in 1991. The play has been running for 25 consecutive years having surpassed 3,500 performances before audiences of over 350,000 people. Plain and Fancy’s Tony Award® winning author Joseph Stein and Tony Award® winning composer Albert Hague have attended Plain and Fancy at Amish Acres.

At Mr. Stein’s urging Amish Acres became a regional musical repertory theatre in 1996 with the addition of five shows in rotation with Plain and Fancy each season. Amish Acres has now produced seventy two different main stage Broadway musicals and The Round Barn Theatre stage is named for and dedicated to Joseph Stein. Eight of Mr. Stein’s musicals have been produced on his stage, including Plain and Fancy, Fiddler on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife, and Zorba, plus staged readings of Take Me Along, Rags, and Carmelina, plus a Second Stage Production of Enter Laughing. As you might expect, he has said that The Round Barn Theatre is his favorite regional theatre with which he has been associated.

In October of 2006, Dick and his wife Susan were guests of Joseph and Elisa Stein in New York City for the York Theatre’s Mufti Series production of Plain and Fancy, the last in a month long, three show festival of Stein’s work that included Take Me Along and Carmelina. Artistic Director James Morgan recognized Amish Acres’ twenty year production of Plain and Fancy in the program and in his introductions from the stage. The Pletchers and Jeremy Littlejohn attended the York’s presentation of the Oscar Hammerstein Lifetime Achievement Award in Musical Theatre to Joseph Stein in November of 2007. Stein was further inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in February of 2008. He passed away in 2010 and the Joseph Stein Memorial Fund was created to provide free season tickets to kids.


Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters
Theme Dinner Dates: September 21 and October 5

Each Round Barn theatre Musical production calls for a Theme Dinner and Wine Bar, a joyous celebration with menus written with tongue-in-cheek show references and double entendres, often obscure and ridiculous. the responsibility for such frivolity rest solely with Richard Pletcher. The ensuing menus are lovingly prepared by chef Ruth Miller whose sense of humor make it into it kettle and skillet.

Theme Dinner reservations required. 
For reservations call (800) 800-4942.

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree

Menu Includes:

Mess Hall


Iceberg Lettuce and
Blue Cheese Dressing

Wholesome Bread
Cresent Rolls

Chicken Parmesan
Beef Burgundy

Noodles Romanoff

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Vanila Wafer Pudding
Blueberry Cobbler
Ruth's Famous Crème Brule'

Iced Tea, Lemonade, Coffees
Beer and Wine available for purchase

2012 Theme Dinner Menu