"Jerome Kern, Waltz in Springtime"--the ninth in a series of musical revues by the Off the Circle Theater Co. -- offers not a stroll but a sprint down memory lane. The production at D.C. Space showcases 36 Kern songs in a little more than an hour on stage, and then brings some back for an encore in the closing medley.
The four-member ensemble -- Francie Glick, Duncan Hollomon, Bailey Saul and Getchen Weihe -- for the most part does a bang-up job in engineering this whistlestop tour of the works of one of America's most prolific composers.
There's no doubt they had a lot of territory to cover. Kern had his first success in 1905 at the age of 20 with "How'd You Like to Spoon With Me" and, by the time of his death in 1945, had written a thousand songs for more than a hundred stage and film productions.
Many a favorite is included here: "Look for the Silver Lining," "Bill," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "The Last Time I Saw Paris," to name just a few. The production offers some especially nice touches -- Weihe's rendition of "Don't Ever Leave Me" (sung to both men); her saucy duet with Glick on "Life on the Wicked Stage" and Hollomon's simple restraint on "The Folks Who Live on the Hill."
On the other hand, some of the songs demand more than the performers and the tiny stage can offer. And in some other cases, they're haunted by memories of the original great performances. There aren't, for example, many acts harder to follow than Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing "A Fine Romance" and "Pick Yourself Up."
All in all, though, it's a pleasant evening of old-fashioned songs done the old-fashioned way. As for the breakneck pace of the show, well, maybe that's Jerome Kern's fault: He just wrote too many good sons. JEROME KERN, WALTZ IN SPRINGTIME -- At D.C. Space, Thursday through Saturday at 8, through June 11.