Opening the season at Long Beach's International City Theatre is Swinging On A Star, a revue based on the music of Johnny Burke. The show, which had a Broadway run a few seasons back, opens Feb. 16 and runs through March 11 at the Center Theatre.
Featured in the cast are Alaina Reed Hall (Olivia on "Sesame Street"), Stephen Breithaupt, Susan Hoffman, Dexter Jones, Daniel O'Callaghan, Jennifer Shelton and Nancy Sinclair. caryn morse desai directs, Robert Brandzell is musical director and Mic Thompson choreographs.
Hollywood lyricist Burke wrote the lyrics for the songs in 23 of Bing Crosby's movies, including the six zany "Road" pictures starring Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. A prolific writer, he penned more than 550 songs, collaborating primarily with composers Arthur Johnston and James V. Monaco in the late 1930s and Jimmy Van Heusen from 1940 on, but also with Erroll Garner, Robert Haggart and Harold Spina. Burke won an Academy Award for the song "Swinging on a Star," which Crosby sang in the l944 film "Going My Way." The song, written with Van Heusen, sold more than a million copies of sheet music, was recorded in 20 different versions—and earned the team $50,000 each.
Mary Burke Kramer, Burke's widow, is traveling to Long Beach to attend ICT's opening. "The first song I ever learned as a child was 'Swinging On A Star,'" she said. "I never thought I would grow up to marry the man who wrote it."
ICT's Center Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. For tickets and information call (562) 436-4610.. —By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent