he show is just a saucy piece of silliness, and
it gets off to an adolescent start (the Bride of Frankenstein with
singing breasts), but there's a lot of talent onstage in "Boobs! The
Musical," subtitled "The World According to Ruth Wallis."
In the cabaret universe of the 1940's, 50's and 60's, when Ms.
Wallis wrote and performed the 20 or so songs that make up this
show, it was probably pushing your luck with the vice squad to sing
a line like "I always think of my blushing groom/ Whenever I see the
pansies bloom" in "Queer Things Are Happening." In 2003, the husband
returns to the stage dressed in a sparkly red showgirl outfit
trimmed with tons of ostrich feathers and segues into "I Need a Man
of My Own," with two boy backup dancer-singers.
The musical, at the Triad, at 158 West 72nd Street in Manhattan,
is mostly about anatomy — in addition to the title song, there are
double-entendre numbers about yo-yo's and dinghies — and
heterosexual sex. But it exudes a joyous innocence like that of
"Debbie Does Dallas" (the Fringe Festival incarnation, that is; once
that show moved up to Off Broadway, things got a little
Some of the best humor, like the attack on Max Perlman and
Rebecca Young by stuffed Hitchcock-inspired birds, is decidedly
Jenny-Lynn Suckling's Mommie Dearest impersonation, with J.
Brandon Savage as her angelic adopted son, is impressive, even
though the number that includes it, "Mama Was a Star," isn't one of
the show's best.
Real feeling sneaks into the production from time to time,
particularly in the reprise of "Johnny's Got a Yo-Yo," with an
arrangement that leaves silliness behind and deliberately evokes
Stephen Sondheim's (and Elaine Stritch's) "Ladies Who Lunch" from
The six-person cast, which also includes the talented and
good-looking Kristy Cates and Robert Hunt, is expertly directed by
Donna Drake and choreographed by Lawrence Leritz.
Steve Mackes and Michael Whaley wrote the book, which mostly just
fills in the blanks between songs.
When Marissa Jaret Winokur is ready to leave her teenage heroine
role in "Hairspray," Broadway producers may want to give
the lovable Ms. Young a call. Mini-series casting directors may also
want to note Mr. Savage's resemblance to Prince William. (This actor
just needs to turn the goofiness down a notch.)