Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  5f, 5girl(s)

"A Wowser. An evocative balancing act of music and comedy, parody and sentiment. They make the good war sound great." - Time Magazine

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5f, 5girl(s)
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre


    Christmas/Holiday, Parody / Spoof
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway, Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

OVER 300 PERFORMANCES OFF BROADWAY It's London, 1944. Join MGM star Marian Ames and her all-girl band from the Hollywood Canteen for the rip-roaringest canteen show of them all. After 17 years with MGM, still-glamorous movie legend Marian Ames has endured four flop films in a row and is being put out to pasture. But this is 1944 and no time for self pity. So Marian has gathered up her instrument playing gal pals from the Hollywood Canteen and headed for London to entertain the troops. Joining her are Jo Sterling, (her drum playing stand-in on 17 pictures), her skittish niece Katie Gammersflugel, solid as a rock piano playing riveter Topeka Abotelli and leggy chorine Lilly McBain. Get ready for a memorable night as these five archetypal film characters from the 1940's prove their mettle while they sing over 30 vintage classics from the war years. Laughs, tears, emotional fireworks, air raids and a celebration of women during the war punctuate this hilarious and heart warming story. Songs include: "Don't Fence Me In," "I'll Be Seeing You," "Sing Sing Sing," "How High the Moon," "I Don't Want to Walk without You," "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "Sentimental Journey," "Apple Blossom Time", a fast paced, 12-song Andrews Sisters medley and many more.

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"What a pleasure! A funny parody of backstage Hollywood musicals." - The New York Times

"Swingtime Canteen is an evocative balancing act of music and comedy, parody and sentiment. They make the good war sound great... [There's an] Andrew's Sisters medley that's a wowser. And they escalate into feeling with "I'll Be Seeing You." This gorgeous rendition works as a reminder of what the boys were fighting for, and what any struggle - war in the '40s, AIDS in the '90s - means to the combatants: pain and loss, and a sweet, frail hope." - TIME Magazine

"A must see! A must enjoy! - The New York Post

"High Octane! Rip Roaring! Smoothly Polished!" - New York Newsday

"An irresistible nostalgia-fest!"- Time Out London


  • Swingtime Canteen
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Friendship, War


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Outdoor
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Artboard 3 Gun Shots

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: 1940s / WWII
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting: Swingtime Canteen is designed to be performed on a single unit set. The set is a USO show being performed on the stage of a London music hall in 1944. It features such period iconography as war posters and bandstands.
    Any size stage will do
  • Additional Features: Audience Participation/Interactive, Local Celebrity Cameo, Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway, Jazz
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Medium
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus


5f, 5girl(s)
MARIAN AMES - a veteran MGM film star
JO STERLING - her drum playing stand-in on 17 pictures
KATIE GAMMERSFLUGEL - her skittish niece
TOPEKA ABOTELLI - solid as a rock piano playing riveter
LILLY MCBAIN - a leggy chorine
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Cast Attributes

  • All Female
  • Ensemble cast
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

Swingtime Canteen is designed to be performed by a company of 8 (5 actors and 3 side musicians).Of the five roles in the show, only three play an instrument. The script is easily revised to suit the casting pool available. The show utilizes three side musicians who are on stage during the performance dressed as WACs. This allows the theatre to engage professional musicians for instruments not found in their casting pool.


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

11 Piano/Conductor Scores

Reed 1 (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone)
Reed 2 (Alto Saxophone)



Linda Thorsen Bond

After collaborating on Swingtime Canteen, Linda Thorsen Bond has written other musicals, historic plays and comedies. Her musical, "Big Blondes" was commissioned by a theatre in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was performed internationally, starting in The Wirral, England. The comedy, "Five Ex-Wives in ICU" is a favorite of UIL ...

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William Repicci

William Repicci is the co-author of Swingtime Canteen with Linda Thorsen Bond and Charles Busch. He has produced and general managed over thirty-five plays and musicals on Broadway, Off-Broadway, touring, and in London. Managin ...

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Charles Busch

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won M ...

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Kenneth Elliott

Kenneth Elliott co-authored Devil Boys from Beyond (with Buddy Thomas) and directed its premiere at the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival (Fringe Award for Outstanding Play), as well as the 2010 Off-Broadway trans ...

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Swingtime Canteen opened Off Broadway at the The Blue Angel Theatre in February 1995 and ran for over 300 performances before hitting Atlantic City and London.

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