The Pin Up Girls: A heartwarming love note to our Veterans


Photo courtesy of Meadow Brook Theatre Communication

Meadow Brook Theatre presented “The Pin-Up Girls” from April 20 through May 15, 2022.

From April 20 through May 15, 2022, Meadow Brook Theatre presented the Pin-Up Girls by James Hindman and Jeffrey Lodin. Featuring music from the 1920s to today, the show took the audience on an emotional trip through a different perspective of war history. 

The show tells the story of a group of friends that come across a collection of letters from the past hundred years. Leanne (Brittany Jeffery) and her friends are helping their families to close their Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) Post when they find letters from soldiers, sailors and airmen spanning from World War I through Afghanistan. Inspired by their stories, the group put together a show that beautifully celebrates the people that fought for our country, with songs ranging from “You Made Me Love You” and “Please Mr. Postman” to “Push It” and “Single Ladies.”

Cast members were all making their Meadow Brook debuts. Alongside Jeffery’s Leanne is Brooke Quintana as Megan, Grace Choi as Dana, and Justin Scott Brown bringing his Broadway experience to complete the cast as Joel. The Pin-Up Girls is directed by Travis W. Walter, with Deon Ridley and Zachary Ryan serving as choreographer and music director, respectively.

“This show celebrates the service of those individuals that can be at different times sentimental and silly, fun and heartbreaking, lighthearted and breathtaking,” Meadow Brook Theatre artistic director Travis W. Walter said. “The Pin-Up Girls is full of music everyone will remember and enjoy.“ 

The musical was entertaining from beginning to end. Each song carried explicit emotions with it and magnificently illustrated each letter and story represented — a notable example being “Sincerely Wilbur,” a three-part song telling the tale of a soldier that wanted to become a war hero but ultimately lived a different experience.

From love letters to heartbroken families, the audience received each story gracefully, resulting in laughs, tears, many locked eyes on the stage, and plenty of applause. 

The songs were not the only entertaining aspect of this show. Walter opened the night with some military-themed jokes carried with humorous twists of words, and a fifteen-minute intermission was introduced by a quick round of bingo covering historical facts. As if the songs in the show were not entertaining enough, the cast performed a sing-along very much known by us all: the alphabet of states. 

The musical connected each story effortlessly, and the live band was the final touch that made the songs so astounding. Everything worked together, down to the stage design — resembling an American post office, The stage was covered in red, white, and blue, the walls adorned with old photos of soldiers and small LED lights.

The cast had very common costumes — almost like everyday clothing —but with each song, they would play with accessories like hats, fake bears, capes and more. The patriotic stage design, their costumes and this playful use of accessories allured the audience to innocent memories of how children can play in the living room and put together a show for a family lunch on a Sunday. The musical built in many details a very respectful and loving environment to present such inspiring stories. 

The show had a moment dedicated to recognizing the veterans present in the audience. Each of them received a single flower, which many dedicated to their spouses. 

What I liked most about this show was how the present and past came together to tell these inspiring stories we rarely think about in a unique way. With references to Marilyn Monroe and Carmen Miranda, the musical was entertaining while thought-provoking. The Pin-Up Girls is a nostalgic memory for older generations and an important lesson for younger ones.