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Sunday, September 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Entertainment

Military vets get free admission to ‘All Hands on Deck’

‘All Hands on Deck” is a singing and dancing tribute to the Greatest Generation, those who fought and lived through World War II.

As such, West Coast Entertainment President Jack Lucas wants to make sure those who fought in World War II and later conflicts will get a chance to see it for free.

“I’d really like to just fill up the INB,” he said, “so people can enjoy a day out and listen to the music they remember.”

Lucas, himself a Vietnam vet, called it “the right thing to do.”

He added, “We’ve set it up with our box office staff that if someone comes in and says they’re a veteran, we’re going to let them come in and see the show.”

This one-time-only show is being intentionally staged on Sunday afternoon to further make sure that the patrons most interested in seeing it are able to.

“It’s going to be a great afternoon of music and fun,” Lucas said. “It’s something different. We’ve not done this kind of event before. And the sole purpose when I did it is that it’s something good for the community and we can give something back to the community.”

“All Hands on Deck,” is a patriotic musical revue loosely based on a 1942 Bob Hope USO tour. It features skits, mock commercials and a whole lot of music. Jody Madaras, who created the show, said it offers a “shot in the arm of patriotism” and harkens back to a time when America was united against a common foe.

“I wrote it to honor them as well, the men and women who served in World War II and the Korean War,” he said. “This is their music.”

He first had the idea in 2005, and it debuted in 2011. It went on tour in earnest in 2012 and has been playing in houses across the country on and off since. Beginning next year, the show will take up residence at the Dutton Family Theater in Branson, Missouri.

Madaras spent two years just researching the music for the show. In the end, he reached back to his grandparents and the music they loved.

“My Grandma Madaras is sort of in the show, you might say,” he said. “There are a couple of her favorite American songs, and I put those in the show for my grandma.”

These songs are “Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe,” and “Don’t Fence Me In” by Cole Porter. Other tunes include “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” “Thanks for the Memory,” “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo,” and “I’m in the Mood For Love.”

The show features four actors, including Madaras, who play a variety of roles. They’re backed by a nine-piece big band. “They sound like they’re about 30,” he added.

While the show is popular with the older demographic, the live big band music is attracting younger audiences and families as well.

“Maybe they came with grandma and grandpa, but we see a fair number of children, and they really seem to enjoy it,” he said. “Especially the dancing. Especially our tap.”

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