Director Robert Marra's inventive staging lends shape and gravitas to this musical revue, which showcases the songs of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb. The set is an urban coffeehouse (designer Andy Hammer's cozy take on Starbucks) where regular patrons indulge their caffeine and sweet-tooth kicks. Out on the sidewalk a homeless woman (Gina D'Acciaro) lingers, crooning the title number, which speaks to the wayward ways of fate. Marra employs choreography and costumes (Vicki Conrad's enlivening retro designs) to create characters and stories that give the lyrics heft. The show's high point comes at the end of Act I when D'Acciaro, doubling as a charismatic celebrity, sings "How Lucky Can You Get," then strips to reveal the penniless panhandler beneath the Hollywood garb. A plethora of melodies are about unrequited love or nostalgic regret; we prefer the snappier numbers: "Arthur in the Afternoon," in which a philandering housewife (Selah Victor) pays tribute to her mood-lifting lover, and "The Grass Is Always Greener," Ebb's witty rumination (sung by Victor and Carrie Madsen) on people's perverse inclination to envy. Madsen sizzles in "All That Jazz" when her buttoned-down character kicks up her heels and starts baring skin, to the delight of the timorous young man (Michael D'Elia) at the next table. The costumes and set are a bit at odds, period-wise; the vocals are fine, if not especially striking. It's the storytelling concept that's the star. Actors Co-op, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; through Oct. 14. (323) 462-8460, actorsco-op.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 7. Continues through Oct. 14, 2012