By PAM JOHNSON
Jonesborough Repertory Theatre
The Jonesborough Repertory Theatre is once again thrilled to bring you the patriotic and energetic 1940s USO Christmas Show, written and directed by Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt, the theatre’s artistic director. This show (and its July counterpart) has been one of their iconic and most beloved shows each year.
JRT’s USO shows take you back to the wartime of the 1940s and the radio programming that uplifted the spirits of our military troops and their families. As always, the talented cast will perform songs and dances as well as comedy radio skits. You may find yourself singing along to familiar carols like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Joy to the World.”
This show is not only a community favorite but also a favorite of the cast and band members. Here’s what several have to say about the impact this show has had on them and the community over the past 15 years:
“The USO show is a cherished JRT tradition. I am fortunate to be one of the original cast members and look forward to this show every year. I’ve witnessed the positive impact this show has had on our community as it honors our veterans and brings people together in the spirit of love and country. It is also very entertaining on multiple levels and we strive to provide our audiences with wholesome entertainment so that they leave the theatre with a smile on their faces and joy in their hearts.” —Sharon Squibb
“The 1940s USO Show has shown me how important it is to do something special to honor our veterans. JRT is so proud of our veterans, and this show means so much to all of us. I feel much more connected to our community because of the USO show.” — Jessica Shelton
“This show is always the most fun, the most meaningful, and no matter how many songs or skits we do, every year is different. The bond between the actors, musicians and tech crew is amazing. In every performance, we hope to create a similar bond with the audience. All of us, young and old, are deeply affected by the emotion and sentiment accompanying this yearly production.”
— Stacia Howard (band member)
“To be able to do a show of this magnitude to say thank you to our servicemen and women has meant so much to me over the past 15 years. I think these are the most popular shows that we have ever done. They continue to sell out, and that is a tribute to this area and the patriotic feeling that we have. It’s a tribute to our theatre and the dedication that we have to thanking our military.” — Josh Baldwin
“I love doing this show, in particular because it involves such a diverse cross section of our community coming together to express our gratitude to our armed forces and our shared Christmas hope for a kinder, more peaceful world.” — Joe Gumina
“The USO show has a special meaning to me because it was my very first show at the JRT. It was my introduction to a community full of pride for their country, a theatre proud to recognize those who have given so much for their country and a group of people who I can proudly call my friends and family.” — Shawn Hale
“I am one of several USO ‘newbies’ getting to experience performing in this year‘s show for the first time and am so excited and honored to be a part of this patriotic, funny, and heartwarming production! I have been an audience member many times watching this show, and it has always touched my heart. This show is very family-friendly and allows younger generations to see how our parents and grandparents were entertained in the 40s. We hope our audience loves the show as much as we do!” — Krista Wharton
“Through the years, Jonesborough Repertory Theatre’s 1940s USO Show has brought me so much joy and happiness. It was the first show I saw at JRT in 2014, sparking my interest in performing. I am sure it will bring you as much holiday spirit as it has brought me, my family, and friends. — Isaiah Johnson
Rounding out the cast are Heather Allen (choreographer), Lorrie Anderson, Andee Atkins, Tim Barto, Austin Bird, Ramona Bird, Tabatha Bird, Bob Browning, Stephen Cradic, Liz Dollar, Paul Fagan, Janette Gaines, Laura Griffin, Tiffany Matthews, Emily Merritt, Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt, Jessie Scarbrough, Lucas Schmidt (band director), Eli Simpson, and Don Squibb.
The JRT appreciates each of the show’s sponsors: Denny Dentistry, Morningstar Farms, Joe Grandy, Citizen’s Bank, Chick-fil-A, and Mary B. Martin/Sonia King.
Show times are December 6-16, Thursday through Monday, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 & 5 p.m. Tickets are $16 general admission, $14 for students and seniors. The theatre is located at 125.5 West Main Street, Jonesborough, TN. To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010 or go online to www.jonesboroughtheatre.com.
(JRT’s USO show is neither sponsored nor endorsed by the USO, and it’s not a fundraiser for the USO.)