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November 1, 2012

A journey back in time

Local entertainers bring 1940s-style night club to life

It was a sentimental journey back to the 1940s, when The Paul Prue Review put on “The Eddie Stellerman Show’’ to celebrate a time when a grown-up America stepped onto the world stage.

The show opened to a full house at Archie’s Little River Ale House in Lafayette Square. Every table in the room was full. The dinning room sat 100 people at the Oct. 20 event.

The story went like this: Harry Truman had just taken over in the White House, American servicemen were coming home from World War II in droves, and Eddie Stellerman stepped up to the microphone at Eddie’s, his club in New York.

That is the way Haverhill musician and local artist Paul Prue wrote his dinner theater musical to celebrate the music and style of the 1940s.

“They were glamorous. The way they dressed, the music they played set them apart from anything before and since,” Prue said about what he wanted to capture with his one-hour show.

Characters from the show — men in spats and women carrying long cigarette holders — slid through the room in their long evening gowns, bringing the performance right into the audience.

Diners heard local musicians and singers Elle Gallo, Rick Campbell, Michael Cesati, April Anamisis, Hoban Sanford, John Schiavoni and Peter Chase all introduced by Prue, who played Eddie Stellerman, doing the honors at the mic.

One star of the show was the cigarette girl portrayed by 15-year-old Emma Campbell. Campbell, dressed to look like the girls who used to walk among the tables in the clubs in the 1940s and ‘50s, selling “smokes,” walked the floor with her shoulder-strapped tray of cigars, cigarettes and her tip glass.

She cruised the room, selling candy cigarettes to chocolate lovers who told curious onlookers they wouldn’t give anyone “a drag.’’

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