Fans of those Saturday Night Live sketches spoofing George Bush, Paris Hilton, and 
Brangelina (that’s Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) might be surprised to learn that way 
back in 1933, an Irving Berlin Broadway musical used the very same format to 
lampoon President Herbert Hoover, heiress Barbara Hutton, and film stars Douglas 
Fairbanks, Jr. and Joan Crawford.  

The show was called As Thousands Cheer, with book by Moss Hart and music and 
lyrics by Broadway legend Berlin.  Last night, the musical theater magicians of 
Musical Theatre Guild proved (with just 25 hours of rehearsal) how very 
contemporary this show remains in a splendid concert staged reading at the Alex 
Theater in Glendale.

Director Cate Caplin and her MTG-member cast of eight joined forces with musical 
director Dean Mora to fashion a funny, tuneful, and surprisingly topical evening of 
theater entertainment.

As Thousands Cheer sketches include:

*President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover (Reese Holland and Marsha Kramer), on their last 
day in the White House, calling up their political enemies and giving them a piece of 
their mind, and in the final phone call, a resonant raspberry.

*Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks (Maura M. Knowles and Stuart Ambrose) 
meeting reporters to discuss their Will Hayes approved divorce plans.  (Hayes was of 
course the movie czar responsible for cleaning up the movies in the early 30s.)

*A live radio broadcast from the Met of Lucia di Lammermoor  which merged 
Donizetti’s opera (sung by Eileen Barnett) with simultaneous ads for Mueuller’s 
Miracle Mustard Sauce.

*Evangelist Aimee Semple MacPherson (Knowles) inviting hunger-striking Mahatma 
Ghandi (William Martinez) to join her revival tour and make a mint by combining 

*The King and Queen of England (Michael Kostroff and Barnett) asking a foppish 
Prince of Wales (Holland) about Walter Winchell’s report of the Prince’s intention to 
wed a commoner.  (Substitute Perez Hilton, and this skit would be as contemporary 
as today’s Internet headlines.)

As Thousands Cheer interposes these and other sketches with a dozen and a half 
Irving Berlin tunes, including the classic “Easter Parade,” the seductive “Heat Wave,” 
the devastating “Suppertime” (a breathtaking performance by Jennifer Shelton), 
and more.  There’s the romantic “How’s Chances?,” the poignant “Lonely Heart,” 
the bluesy “Harlem on my Mind,” all as fresh today as they were 70 plus years ago.

The cast of last night’s performance (all MTG regulars) couldn’t have been better, 
the show allowing them to show off not only their vocal talents but their comedic 
chops as well.

Barnett sizzled through “Heat Wave,” Kostroff broke hearts with “Lonely Heart,” 
Martinez delighted with “The Funnies,” and Shelton proved herself the hottest thing 
on stage with “Harlem on my Mind” and the chill-inducing “Suppertime.” Knowles 
and Ambrose had great fun as full-of-themselves film stars Crawford and Fairbanks. 
while Holland and Kramer were a hilariously over-the-top Herbert and Lou Hoover. 

Dean Mora on piano and Jim Garafalo on bass provided a superb backup to the 
many Berlin gems including “Our Wedding Day,” for the society wedding of the 
season, “Through a Keyhole,” about the public’s interest in celebrity gossip, and the 
charming closing number, “Not For All The Rice in China.”  (Not to forget the 
penultimate number which promised “No Reprises,” and reprised about half the 
songs in the show!)

Caplin, a frequent MTG choreographer but first time MTG director, deserves highest 
marks for putting together a fun evening of musical theater. 

With As Thousands Cheer (produced by Kevin Earley), MTG once again treated its 
audience to a rarely performed Broadway show performed by some of the finest 
talent around. Sadly, last night was the first and last performance.  Happily, it was a 
night to remember.

Alex Theatre, Glendale.

–Steven Stanley
November 19, 2007

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