The grand American tradition of singing bright songs through hard times gets a pleasant workout in “Arlen and Berlin Occupy the Fringe,” a five-singer cabaret at Source Theatre. An early tone-setter is “I Got the Sun in the Morning,” with Pam Ward happily crooning that what she doesn’t have pales next to earthy treasures within her grasp. Ah, that optimism!
This In Series production features 26 songs by either Harold Arlen (“Stormy Weather,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Get Happy”) or Irving Berlin (“Slumming on Park Avenue,” “I Got the Sun,” “God Bless America”). The 90-minute affair moves fast, and the interstitial dialogue by Bari Biern doesn’t bog things down, even if the conceit has the singers warbling tunes and fiddling with protest placards in Freedom Plaza. (Timothy F. Geithner’s name gets slipped into one vintage lyric.) A lot of the downers are less about the 99 percent than about love gone wrong, but that’s all right. It’s about getting knocked off stride and bouncing back.