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The Boston Convservatory Theater Ensemble presents the Gershwin’s ‘Strike Up The Band’

The Boston Conservatory Theater Ensemble presents a concert staging of the rarely performed 1927 Gershwin musical Strike Up the Band, April 23—25 at Midway Studios, 15 Channel Center St., in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. (Many Boston Conservatory performances are taking place at Midway Studios while The Boston Conservatory’s theater building at 31 Hemenway Street is being expanded and renovated.) Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $22 general admission, $12 for senior citizens and $7 for all students with valid ID. Box Office: (617) 912-9222 or

Strike Up the Band takes a timely look at the politics of war and industry in America. George and Ira Gershwin collaborated with legendary humorist George S. Kaufman to create this biting anti-war satire, said to be ahead of its time. It essentially closed before it opened, never making it past its pre-Broadway run in Philadelphia. In 1930, the Gershwins revised the story with Morrie Ryskynd, softening its political edges. The Boston Conservatory presents the original 1927 version. Horace J. Fletcher, a cheese tycoon, tries to protect his monopoly by convincing the American government to declare war on Switzerland. He agrees to finance the war, if he can have naming rights. It features Gershwin classics “The Man I Love” and the title track.

This production will be directed by Boston Conservatory faculty member F. Wade Russo, who directed last year’s warmly received Show Boat, and served as musical director/conductor of The Life and Chess in 2008. Other conducting credits include the Broadway production of By Jeeves and the national tour of The Boyfriend directed by Julie Andrews. Regionally, he has worked with Lyric Theatre of Boston, Goodspeed Opera House, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, Huntington Theatre, Gateway Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and the Williamstown Theatre Festival Cabaret (six seasons). He composed incidental music for The Glass Menagerie with Joanne Woodward at the Long Wharf Theatre and was vocal coach for the American premiere of Valley Song at Manhattan Theatre Club directed by Athol Fugard. Russo conducted and played keyboards on the original cast recordings of Illyria and By Jeeves. This summer he will return to the Goodspeed Opera House to conduct Camelot. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Russo has taught on the faculties of the National Theatre Institute (Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center), Emerson College, Circle in the Square Theatre School and the Juilliard School. Your source for news and information about Boston Theatre. Join our email list, follow us on Twitter @exploretheatre and become a fan on Facebook.

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