When Bud Forrest looks out into the audience, he sees people of all ages.
He sees a mostly older audience with couples holding hands, remembering the music that they danced to when they were young. He sees 30-something couples bouncing to the music. And he sees teenagers, too.
Forrest's "In the Mood" swings into the Bill Heard Theatre Sunday afternoon.
He created the show and put it together. He's also on stage as the orchestra conductor and pianist.
Why create a show featuring the music of the 1930s and '40s?
"It's all part of our history and culture," Forrest said. "You take this music, add the costumes and choreography, and we've had quite the run. In fact, (the tour) has lasted longer than the original Big Band era."
He thinks the show is so popular because the music is timeless.
A lot of people are unsure what to expect, he said. Invariably, after each show, people will come up to him and say, "If I'd known, I would have brought all my friends."
There is no story, he said, "it's just a Big Band coming through Columbus in 1930."
Back in those days, the only entertainment for many people was the radio.
"This particular era was a significant time in our history," Forrest said. "There were only 130 million Americans. And the only concerts some of then went to were radio concerts. Recordings were the only way people could hear the music. It started in 1927."
Some of the songs featured in "In the Mood" are among the most recorded songs in history.
Those songs include "In the Mood," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," "Tuxedo Junction" and "Swing, Swing, Swing."
"You still hear these songs in movies and in commercials," Forrest said. "It's quite a show. Audiences love that."
The dancers and singers in the show are young, he said. "They're only in their 20s," Forrest said. "They don't know the music. But they get it now. They understand it. And they react to it. There is truly something in this show for everyone.
"If you're either a kid of 8 or 88, there is something you will enjoy. It's part of our contribution to people's enjoyment."
"In the Mood" began as entertainment for small dinner parties, Forrest said, that evolved over five years.
Even after almost 20 years, he still looks forward to meeting a new audience. "After all these years, we've never been to Columbus," he said. "I'm excited."