The trouble with "Room Service" is that it takes so long to deliver. And when it finally does, the pickings are slim indeed.
Still, the production at the Eisenhower Theater, starring Hal ("Barney Miller") Linden in the role of conniving Broadway producer, is an honorable and energetic attempt at theatrical resuscitation.
John Murray and Allen Boretz's comedy had everything it needed for the hit parade of 1937: an incredible story about showbiz, country boy meets city girl, a generous dollop of slapstick and a neat little happy ending.
But what can you say about a 46-year-old show that has one character, while publicly undressing, saying, "Well, now I know how Gypsy Rose Lee feels"?
Director Michael Kidd plays things absolutely straight, doing nothing to counter the comedy's datedness. The laughs are made mostly in a businesslike manner, with little of the fun or madness that such shows need.
Linden certainly has a track record in comedy; but as Gordon Miller, who charmingly cheats the White Way Hotel to produce a new show, "Godspeed," his performance is decidedly forced. He isn't a star on this stage.
That quality shines from Dick O'Neill as Wagner, the irascible, oath-swearing hotel executive. His marvelously expressive face, capable of sourpussed triple-takes, projects nicely across the footlights; so does his curmudgeonly voice.
Lewis J. Stadlen plays "Godspeed's" director with the cadence of Groucho Marx, who starred in the movie version of "Room Service" with his brothers. But his performance merely sparks nostalgia for zanier days. ROOM SERVICE -- At the Eisenhower through June 25.