Gershwin On the Air, a retro-radio-style show with duo-piano accompaniment

Love Finds Judy Garland, a retro-radio-style show with piano accompaniment

Get Happy! Judy Garland in Hollywood, a symphony pops concert 

Song after song bursts from the stage, filling your ears as if they’d been there forever, but with a new coating of freshness.
— The Plain Dealer

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Mark Flanders and Joan Ellison created Circa 1939 to take audiences back to the world where Classic American Popular Songs were fresh and new.  

They are currently touring with the retro-radio style shows Gershwin On the Air and Love Finds Judy Garland (www.lovefindsjudygarland.com), and Joan solos with symphony orchestra in the concert Get Happy! Judy Garland in Hollywood (www.joanellison.com).  


The extremely condensed story of CIRCA 1939...

After hearing a 1926 recording of "Fascinating Rhythm" with George Gershwin at the piano and Adele and Fred Astaire singing - and over a hundred other hair-standing-on-end recordings from the Golden Age - they set out to recreate those great performances.  Joan put her Oberlin Conservatory master's degree to the test and began transcribing  piano accompaniments from the original recordings, as they honed their vintage vocal skills.  

Listening to recordings of the duo-piano team of Arden and Ohman, Gershwin's pit pianists,  they decided to attempt a whole Gershwin show with duo-piano accompaniment. Joan's transcribing skills were sorely tested trying to figure out which piano was playing what but she prevailed, and Gershwin On the Air was born.

They added an RCA-44, the microphone used in all the recordings and radio shows of the '30s and '40s and started setting the songs in radio shows authentic enough to be pulled from the ether of the National Broadcasting System, and using authentic radio commercials, including their personal favorite: J-E-L-L-O.  

 

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Circa 1939's time machine takes passengers on a sw'elegant musical jaunt into the fourth dimension.  And don't worry!  If you get left behind you can always make a pile by betting the Yankees to beat the Reds in four games in the '39 World Series...