The popularity of musical theater in the middle part of the past century brought with it a few gentle spoofs of the genre — "Little Mary Sunshine" and "Dames at Sea" among the most notable.
The satirical art also flowered in England, where Gilbert and Sullivan had lampooned the music hall shows a century before. Probably the best example of this trend came in Sandy Wilson's 1953 musical "The Boy Friend," which was most notable for introducing Julie Andrews to American producers, thus paving the way for "My Fair Lady."
The Newport Theatre Arts Center has dusted off this vintage piece of British fluff and trotted it out front and center in a sparkling revival that's rich in character, costumes and choreography. It also boasts a luminous heroine who's only appearing in about half the performances due to school and work (Cinderella at Disneyland) commitments.
Director Larry Watts has put a glittering touch on this golden oldie, which he also choreographed and shares costume design credit with Tom Phillips. His characters put their best feet (and faces) forward, often lapsing into the presentational style of the lampooned era, the 1920s, and playing even straight conversations flatly out front.