BROADWAY - At the Terrace through Saturday.
"Broadway," a musical without much music, is nevertheless a delight. It's a snappy, razzle-dazzle look at backstage life at a sleazy New York speakeasy -- sort of "A Chorus Line" of the 1920s. But since this is the '20s, not the '70s, we get gangsters and chorines, not angst and introspection.
This one is just fun, and Lord knows there's nothing wrong with that. "Broadway" reportedly took New York by storm when it opened at the Broadhurst Theater in 1926, and it holds up well. Not a stereotype is missing from dapper gangsters with slicked-back hair and pencil-thin mustaches to chorus girls both wide-eyed and blowsy. Women are "janes," men "boys," detectives "dicks." The humor isn't highbrow ("You ever hear of the Sullivan Act?" "No, what time's it playin'?"), but you don't want it to be. It would spoil the fun.
Through our hearts are supposed to be stolen by Harriet Harris and Tom Robbins as a sweet young couple, the chorus girls, a winningly mismatched quartet, are the real stars. John David Ridge's costumes, variations on a faded sateen theme, are comic works of art. We've continually tantalized by the repeated sight of these cuties prancing offstage -- and onto the speakeasy stage, whereby they no doubt have their audience stamping and cheering in the aisles. At the end they spiff themselves up for a showstopping finale, and the effect is riveting. It's the show's one production number, and worth the wait. "Broadway" is a show the whole family can attend, which alone should qualify it for some kind of award. And the Kennedy Center's cozy new Terrace Theater, which many patrons will find a pleasant change from the cavernous auditoriums downstairs, is a suitably intimate setting.
This is the second of three productions by The Acting Company, a traveling repertory group. After another week at the Kennedy Center, they head for the heartland. They should do very well.