Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, forever entwined because of their string of successful “Road” movies, conjure up an image of a funnier, lighter, mirthful, happier time from the past, and the music associated with them during the 40s and 50s reflects that time as evidenced by “Bob and Bing,” the current show that opened May 15, at The Chestnut Fine Arts Center in Olathe, Kan.
Executive artistic director and accompanist for The Chestnut, Brad Zimmerman created a blockbuster of a trip down memory lane for those who attend the show that runs through June 22, in his cozy theater that lies 20 minutes southwest of Kansas City metro’s center. A short drive down I-35 nets big results and plenty of smiles to those who attend.
Hope known as one of America’s most cherished comedians paired with Crobsy in a series of movies that always drew big audiences and featured exotic locations as they were always on the lamb from something. There were such movies as Road to Singapore, Road to Morocco, Road to Rio, and more.
And there was always a girl involved, as well. Mostly, Dorothy Lamour teamed with the comedy tandem for such adventures, but not always. And, while Bob and Bing soared to fame and fortune such movies, each established a solo career for himself–Hope with comedy and U.S.O. tours; Crosby with his movies and singing career.
Zimmerman with his pair of co-stars for the “Bob and Bing” cavalcade of music also featured a bunch of “corn-fed” humor as well. Hope and Crosby just served as the spark to unite the show that showcased both serious and fun music from the Bob and Bing era.
With only a baby grand piano for backup, the cast for “Bob and Bing” included Cary Mock and Beth Benedict as well as Zimmerman. Mock showed off his piano expertise as he shared the keyboard with Zimmerman on several ditties and also played the accompaniment when Zimmerman was performing with Benedict. Mock also displayed some footwork when tapping was needed.
Benedict fit the bill to perfection. She was the sparkplug for jokes about the woman for whom the two stars competed attention. She sang solos, duets, trios, danced, and strutted in her numbers.
Zimmerman cast the show, knowing what he wanted vocally and Mock and Zimmerman were a perfect fit for the show. Each performed solos that showcased their voices. And each displayed their comic abilities in light-hearted songs–and corny one-liners.
Audiences should expect a good time at The Chestnut, and this show fills the bill with plenty of well-known songs, lots of one-liners and groaners (What do you call a cow with no legs? – Ground Beef!), singing and dancing.
“Bob and Bing” worked well as an ensemble piece, allowing each performer the opportunity to demonstrate all their abilities. They worked well together and worked off each other well. For an opening night, the show is polished. And, it can not get much better. It’s fantastic. The show is appropriate for all ages and just a ton of fun. Who doesn’t know such lyrics as “Aba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba, said the monkey to the chimp?” It’s that and so much more.
Check out the list of songs to know it’s just plain and simple fun for the entire family.
ACT ONE: “Teamwork,” Zimmerman and Mock; “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby”/”Baby Face,” Zimmerman, Mock and Benedict; “How Deep Is the Ocean,” Mock; “Merry Go Run Around,” Mock, Zimmerman and Benedict; “Accentuate The Positive,” Benedict; “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” Zimmerman; “Swinging on a Star,” Mock and Zimmerman; “Paper Moon,” Mock and Benedict; “Moonlight Becomes You,” Mock, Zimmerman and Benedict; “Begin The Beguine,” Mock; “Aba Daba Honeymoon,” Benedict and Zimmerman; “Blue Skies,” Benedict” “In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening,” Mock, Zimmerman and Benedict’ “Apalachicola,” Zimmerman and Mock; “Side by Side,” Zimmerman, Mock and Benedict.
ACT TWO: “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” Zimmerman, Mock and Benedict; “Buttons and Bows,” Zimmerman and Benedict; “Don’t Fence Me In,” Mock; “I’m An Old Cowhand,” Mock and Zimmerman; “Ol’ Man River,” Mock; “Hey Daddy,” Benedict; “The Bells of St Mary’s,” Mock; “Adeste Fideles,” Zimmerman, Mock and Benedict; “Count Your Blessings,” Benedict; “Do You Hear What I Hear,” Mock; “Silver Bells,” Benedict, Zimmerman and Mock; “White Christmas,” Zimmerman, Mock and Benedict; “Macnamara’s Band,” Zimmerman, Mock and Benedict; “You Lucky People, You,” Mock; “Where The Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day,” Benedict; “Without a Song.” Mock; “Thanks For The Memory,” Zimmerman, Benedict and Mock; “Teamwork” Zimmerman, Benedict and Mock.
For tickets, check out the website for Chestnut Fine Arts Center or call the box office at 913.764.2121. Senior and group discounts are available.