WEEKEND IN THE PENINSULA SPOTLIGHT: ‘Movies and Their Music’ looks back at songs from many beloved films

DUNGENESS — An interlude of romance and remembrance is about to unfold, courtesy of 17 singers and 18 songs.

So promises Dewey Ehling, musical director of “Movies and Their Music,” the revue opening tonight at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road.

The production, with its ensemble of vocalists, select skits from classic movies and narrator Pat Owens, is 90 minutes of stories in song.

Just a taste, now: “When You Wish upon a Star,” from the 1940 classic “Pinocchio,” opens the show; then come “The Last Time I Saw Paris” from 1941’s “Lady Be Good,” “You’ll Never Know” from 1943’s “Hello, Frisco, Hello,” and “Swinging on a Star” from “Going My Way,” the 1944 film starring Bing Crosby.

“Movies and Their Music” stars local singers of note, including Carol Swarbrick Dries, Linda Grubb, Ric Munhall and Brian Doig.

Munhall, in addition to singing, is also the stage director and orchestrator of the movie scenes rounding out the revue.

Six performances are slated, at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; next weekend, “Movies and Their Music” will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18, and finally at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19.

Tickets are $15 each or two for $25 if purchased in advance at Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St., Sequim, or Odyssey Books, 114 W. Front St., Port Angeles. At the door, general admission will be $15.

All proceeds will benefit the Sequim-Shisô Sister City Association, which promotes cultural exchange between Sequim and Shiso, Japan.

Every year, the association helps fund Japanese students’ travel to the North Olympic Peninsula in early October, as well as Sequim students’ trips to Japan in late October.

And for all residents of and visitors to Sequim, the Sister City Association’s Friendship Garden awaits at the entrance to Carrie Blake Park at 202 N. Blake Ave.

“Movies and Their Music” is presented by Readers Theatre Plus, which stages dramatic and musical events to benefit various local charities. It’s also a lighthearted trip into cinematic history, with Academy Award-winning songs and movie scenes chosen from the 1940s through the ’60s.

Swarbrick Dries, a veteran stage actress and singer, knew exactly which numbers she wanted to do when Ehling told her of his “Movies and Their Music” idea.

“Buttons and Bows,” from the Bob Hope comedy “The Paleface,” was one, along with “You’ll Never Know,” that lament immortalized by Alice Faye.

Swarbrick Dries remembers going to the Hollywood Bowl one night back in 1983 to see Rosemary Clooney sing. Clooney — “such a grand dame,” Swarbrick Dries said — offered “You’ll Never Know” as a tribute to the recently deceased bandleader Harry James.

A hush fell over the stadium as a pin-spot of light shone on a trumpet player. Then Clooney began to sing:

Darling, I’m so blue without you

I think about you the live-long day …

When you ask me if I’m lonely

Then I only have this to say

You’ll never know just how much I miss you

you’ll never know just how much I care …

“I haven’t forgotten that experience,” Swarbrick Dries said.

Other haunting melodies are part of “Movies and Their Music.” From 1965’s “The Sandpiper,” there’s “The Shadow of Your Smile.” From “Here Comes the Groom” in 1951 comes “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.” And perhaps most alluring of all, from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”: Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.”

“When I hear that song, it takes me to a place I can’t describe,” said Swarbrick Dries.

Yet the mood won’t stay blue for long. Ehling has built in renditions of “On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” from the 1946 movie “The Harvey Girls,” along with “Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah” from Disney’s “Song of the South.” The finale is to be an audience sing-along of that B.J. Thomas hit from 1969’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”

“This is light fare, which I like,” said Ehling, who selected the revue’s singers and songs. “Movies and Their Music” is a break from the winter chill, and “nothing to get serious about,” he said. It’s “just total entertainment.”

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