It's just a little bit ironic that the rousing, crowd-pleasing "Crazy for You" closes the Music Circus season as the summer's big dance show.
"Crazy for You" is a 1992 reboot of a 1930 show called "Girl Crazy." The music and lyrics were written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and it's some of their best work, which is some of the best musical theater songwriting of all time.
Yet this is also a big, glorious tap dance extravaganza, and the routines devised by choreographer Deanna L. Dys are clever and creative throughout, especially in the use of props.
Dys harkens back to a time when choreographers were continually trying to top one another with stunts or gags in the dances, and the ingenuity in "Crazy for You" reflects the play's homage to a previous generation's musical entertainment.
The tap dancing isn't the only throwback so is the story and the steady stream of often-jokey one-liners. Comic playwright Ken Ludwig has taken the imprint of the Gershwins' 1930 "Girl Crazy" with some of the songwriting pair's true classics smushed in along the way.
It's just about impossible to complain about classic songs like "Someone To Watch Over Me" or "They Can't Take That Away From Me," but they feel very much plopped in here. So much of the emotional weight they contain doesn't connect as much as it should. The songs were beautiful but existed outside of the story, such as it is.
That plot has inept New York financier Bobby Child trying to become a song-and-dance man, much to the chagrin of his big-bucks mom (Alix Korey) and pretentious fiancé Irene (Elisa Van Duyne).
Noah Racey's unstoppable performance as Child showed off the graceful soul of a dancer and glorious physical comedy gifts of a comedian.
Child finds himself in Deadrock, Nev., on a foreclosure errand for his mom. The property is a theater, and before you can say "Let's put on a show," Bobby already has. Attached to the property is very spunky young woman named Polly Baker, and as soon as Bobby glimpses her, he knows he's met his soul mate.
Anne Horak gives Polly a sharp blend of country sass and wistful romanticism as she tries keep the theater for her old father who owns it.
There are numerous wonderful sequences with the outstanding ensemble, including "Slap That Bass" and "I Got Rhythm."
A second-half highlight is the brilliant comic duet "What Causes That" between Racey and Matthew Shepard's theater impresario, Bela Zangler.
James Brennan directs with a flair and love of this classic material. Even though overlong and with sometimes awkward placement of the great songs, it's still an overwhelming entertaining production.
CRAZY FOR YOU
Three 1/2 Stars
What: A musical based on the music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin with a book by the comic playwright Ken Ludwig. With Noah Racey and Anne Horak starring. James Brennan directs.
Where: Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St., Sacramento
When: 8 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. today and Saturday; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday (last show)
Time: Two hours 55 minutes, including one intermission
Information: Call (916) 557-1999, online at www.tickets.com, or in person at the Wells Fargo Pavilion