Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Venturers from the Housatonic Council will gather this May for the 92nd annual Scout Gang Show in Derby, Conn.
More than 100 youth members, Scout leaders, and parents will take part in the show, carrying on the thespian Scouting tradition in a mix of vaudeville and variety performances.
Scoutmaster Randy Ritter shared with the New Haven Register how the Scout Gang Show premiered in 1922 and except for two years during World War II, has been an annual tradition for the council.
According to Ritter, the name “Scout Gang Show” stared in the 1930s when a team of London Scouts was preparing for a show. After returning from a break, one Scout announced, “the gang’s all here,” and the Scout Gang Show name was established.
Years ago, a Derby-area Scouter attended these London Scout Gang Shows and eventually brought the concept back to Derby Scouts. This modern Scout Gang Show is the only event of its kind still being performed in the U.S., Ritter said.
The Scoutmaster told the New Haven Register, “the annual show enables our Cub pack, Scout troop, and Venturer crew to work together towards a common goal, and the Scouts gain self confidence performing while learning traditional songs and we raise funds to support our Scouting activities.”
The Scouting variety show has had notable fans through the years, such as President Ronald Reagan. The former president penned a letter to the Scouts of the time, saying the show was “Connecticut’s finest example of controlled chaos.”
Derby’s former mayor and current City Clerk Marc Garofalo will make a guest appearance in the show this year, although it won’t be his stage debut. Garofalo also performed in the one-of-a-kind Scout Gang Show when he was a Cub Scout.
“The Gang Show is a great way for past Scouts to participate in a nearly 100-year old tradition with the current Scouts… It is a great and unique opportunity for people to enjoy the music of yesteryear and to hear jokes that have been recycled for the same nearly 100 years,” Garfalo explained.