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The Smartest Man in the World

This musical, based improbably on the life of Albert Einstein, claims to reveal that he had feelings “just like us.” The book, by Russ Alben and John Sparks, with lyrics by Alben and music by Jerry Hart, is awkwardly cast as an interview between Burke (John Combs), a reporter for the Jewish Daily Forwarts, and Einstein (Alan Safier), with flashbacks to events of the scientist’s life. Einstein is depicted as a relentlessly gemütlich, foxy grandpa, with emphasis on his amusing eccentricities — his difficulties in coping with simple arithmetic and his steadfast refusal to wear socks — and his love life. By putting the four women in Einstein’s life onstage at once, the writers suggest that he was a sort of aging, Jewish Don Juan. The four women — the first wife Mileva (an excellent Gail Bianchi), the second wife Elsa (Terri Homberg-Olsen), the lovelorn secretary Helen (Dani Shear) and the mistress Joanna Fantova (Susan Brindley) — are given a throwback, anti-feminist quartet called “Women Are Made for Love,” solemnly intoning that “great men require adulation.” Both book and score are bland and derivative, though the execution is slickly professional, with direction by Herb Isaacs and musical direction by Gerald Sternbach. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: March 27. Continues through May 11, 2008


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