John Shortis and Moya Simpson.

Cabaret artists Moya Simpson and John Shortis will revive memories of the war era. Photo: Supplied.

Hot songs from the year 1942, when American military bands visited Australia in significant numbers and had a big impact on the local jazz scene, will be reprised in a special performance in Canberra on Friday, October 12.

The musical line-up recalls memories of smoky nightclubs, dance halls and radio studios.

The show is aptly titled 1942 and is presented by local cabaret artists John Shortis and Moya Simpson, playing with a band featuring Ian Blake, Dave O'Neill, Jon Jones and Peter J. Casey.

The performance promises to mix the humour and poignancy of the era in its storytelling, songs and reflections of the characters of 1942. It is a chance to hear rare songs penned in Changi Prison Camp, refrains of desolate Darwin at the time of the bombings and the horrors of the air war over Europe.

The line-up includes the songs of Australians George Wallace and Jack Davey and the jazz adventures of Don Burrows and Graeme Bell.

It will also include the big hits of the year from Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, Spike Jones, Glenn Miller and Vera Lynn.

It will also feature some original songs from Shortis, who recently put his talent to work as the music director for a production at the Canberra Theatre Centre called Rolling Home.

Simpson has a long resume, covering many talents including those of singer, actor, comedian, leader of voice workshops and choirs. She has sung songs of the Balkans in Mesana Salata and Martenitsa and toured for Musica Viva in a cappella group Girls In Your Town.

This performance of 1942 follows the trend of earlier shows presented by Shortis and Simpson in recent years such as Tin Pan Aussie and the Anzac concerts.

  • The show 1942 will be performed at the Canberra Southern Cross Club, Woden, on Friday, October 12, at 8.30pm. Tickets are $28. For the dinner-and-show package tickets are $62, and the evening begins at 6.30pm. Bookings: 6283 7288.