Big Band fundraiser Saturday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A musical featuring big-band tunes from the 1940s will be presented Saturday at 7 p.m. at Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center, 64 Homochitto St.

&8220;G.I. Jukebox: The 1940s Stage Door Canteen,&8221; directed by Diana Glaze with musical direction by Louis DeVries, is a fundraiser for the Natchez Festival of Music.

&8220;I first did this show last summer for the Saint Joseph Arts,&8221; Glaze said. &8220;People liked it so much that we&8217;ve done the show several other times.&8221;

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Glaze earlier had produced &8220;The Taffetas&8221; and &8220;A Taffeta Christmas,&8221; both by Rick Lewis. &8220;I had heard there was another show out there by Rick Lewis, and I finally found it and cast it.&8221;

The four performers are Sam Jones of Vidalia; Mary Nell Rushing of Waterproof, La.; Faye Dandridge of St. Joseph, La.; and Michael Lancaster of Tallulah, La.

The diverse backgrounds of the singer-actors have made the show interesting and lively, Glaze said.

&8220;Michael is a district court judge. At first, he was completely intimidated. It was unlike anything he&8217;d ever done. But now he is so into it,&8221; she said.

The familiar songs and rhythm of the era &8212; and the good stories that go along with the USO during World War II &8212; have given the show a good run, Glaze said.

In addition to raising funds for the 2006 Natchez Festival of Music season, the show will honor members of the 155th Mississippi National Guard Infantry Brigade, said Sara Blackburn, production manager of the month-long festival held in May.

&8220;We hope many people will come out and honor the 155th and support the arts in our community,&8221; she said. &8220;Every soldier in the 155th will receive two free tickets.&8221;

The Natchez Festival of Music will feature five major performances, beginning with &8220;An Evening of Scott Joplin&8221; on May 6 and continuing with &8220;Fiddler on the Roof,&8221; &8220;An Evening of Jazz,&8221; &8220;Il Tabarro&8221; and &8220;Die Fledermaus&8221; on the remaining weekends in May.

The festival also includes recitals and concerts throughout the month at venues including historic houses and churches.

Saint Joseph Arts Inc. and the Natchez Festival of Music Guild are producers of &8220;G.I. Jukebox.&8221;

Tickets, $15 each, are available at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center on South Canal Street and will be available at the door.

Reservations and more information about the show are available by calling 601-442-7464.