Take to the sea with USO show

The cast of “From Sea to Shining Sea” features Heidi Gagne and Danielle Marcotte, both of Somersworth; Kayleen Bertrand of New Boston; Rebekah Londoff of Berwick, Maine; Caelan Jordan, of Dover; and Susan Schott, of Bolton, Mass.

ROCHESTER – An original USO-style musical comedy review takes the stage at the Rochester Opera House for three weekends this summer.

“From Sea to Shining Sea,” which features music from World War I and II and the Vietnam era, opens From Sea to Shining Sea” runs from Friday, July 5, through July 21.

The women singing and dancing in the show say it is a unique opportunity to create something new.

“You will never see this show anyplace else ever again,” said Susan Schott, of Bolton, Mass. “I almost think you could see this show a few times and see a different thing each time.”

Actress and singer Rebekah Londoff, of Berwick, Maine, studied musical theater at the University of New Hampshire and joined the United States Air Force in 2013. She said “From Sea to Shining Sea” is challenging.

“This show is harder because it is an original piece,” Londoff said, explaining that she is usually familiar with the part she is playing prior to the start of rehearsals.

The group has been rehearsing two to five days a week for the past two months both at the Rochester Opera House and in space at a former recovery center on Bridge Street.

Producer Scott Severance developed the idea for the USO show after staging “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” last summer in Rochester. He produces a national tour of “A Christmas Carol” using area actors each year.

Severance said in addition to pulling together music for the USO show, he searched the internet for letters from soldiers that were sent back home.

“We found one from each war that resonated with us. We have one letter from WWI, WWII and Vietnam… The Vietnam letter is kind of ambivalent. We don’t know if he lives or not,” Severance said.

Severance said they realize most of the people in the audience will likely be veterans or those with family members that serve or served in the military. The cast wanted to find the best ways to honor that service.

Tickets are $26 for adults, $22 for seniors and students and $15 for military members. Rochester Opera House is at 31 Wakefield St.