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Club Swing

musical stage production immortalizes cultural venues of the area’s past

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by Kristin Frosch

Created by Five By Design, “Club Swing” pays homage to The Grand Opera House, Fournier’s Dance Academy and Ballroom, and Wisconsin Theatre.
 
THE CAST COMES IN HANDY. Created by Five By Design, “Club Swing” pays homage to The Grand Opera House, Fournier’s Dance Academy and Ballroom, and Wisconsin Theatre.

For long-time Eau Claire residents, the disappearance of The Grand Opera House, Fournier’s Dance Academy and Ballroom, and Wisconsin Theatre, was a devastating loss of some of the city’s most beloved arts and culture venues. With the upcoming production of Club Swing, at The State Theatre, audiences will get a chance to relive the past, paying tribute to some local historic gems.

In the play, while the historic buildings face destruction, so does the fictional Club Swing. Eau Claire residents join together in attempt to save the club, while grieving the uncontrollable loss of the other venues.

Audience members who see the September 30 run will get a chance to appear on Wisconsin Public Television’s broadcast of the Jewel Box Concert Series (a look at historic theaters), expected to air in the summer of 2012.

With a focus on historic preservation, Wisconsin Public Television is set to tape the September 30 production for its Jewel Box Concert Series, a semi-regular look at old and renovated theaters. Audience members who see the September 30 run will get a chance to appear on Wisconsin Public Television’s broadcast of the show, expected to air in the summer of 2012.

Club Swing is entirely produced by Five By Design, a group of leading symphony pops artists accredited with producing over 200 symphony orchestras from The Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and Duluth Superior Symphony, to the National Symphony Orchestra. This year, the group consists of four former UW-Eau Claire music students – Lorie Carpenter-Niska, Kurt Niska, Terrence Niska, and Michael Swedberg – all adding relevance to the play’s local focus.

The play features classic American tunes including the works of Benny Goodman, Cole Porter, Woody Herman, Johnny Mercer, Spike Jones, and Louis Prima, all played by the Robert Baca Big Band.

State Theatre Executive Director, Ben Richgruber, expresses excitement over the unique production and the exposure it will ultimately give to local cities.

“This show will celebrate Eau Claire and Wisconsin,” said Richgruber. “It will get our name on the map. It should be really cool. … We are all very excited.”

Club Swing is expected to sell out fast, so get your tickets early and celebrate local theatre.

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