Perhaps the current occupant of the White House might successfully solve our nation’s suffocating monetary problems if his cabinet meetings were held in New York’s Central Park. Such is the premise that drives this 1937 fantasy-musical (book by George Kaufman and Moss Hart, music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart). It’s a hot summer in 1937 and old FDR (an engaging Joe Joyce) — despondent over the economy — takes a stroll in Central Park, where he encounters lovebirds Peggy and Phil (Christiana Valo, Stephen Vendette). Angered by the money woes that forestall their nuptials, he vows to balance the budget — no easy task, as the members of his cabinet are like first cousins to the Marx Brothers. With the park as the designated meeting place, one hair-brained scheme follows another — there’s even a radio broadcast with the members playing kazoos. In this two hours of daffy fun, the musical selections aren’t executed with consistent polish, but there's some kick to them. Numbers like “Have you Met Miss Jones,” “Spring in Vienna,” “Labor Is the Thing” and “Off the Record” aren’t likely to enthrall the memory. Most of the heavy lifting is done by Vendette and Valo, superb in their musical numbers, as is Joyce. Brian O’Halloran and John Harvey strike just the right balance on piano and percussion, and Victoria Profitt’s Sesame Street–inspired set has an odd appeal. As a glimpse of bygone Yankee feel-good fervor and white-bread Broadway wholesomeness, it has an indelible charm.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 26. Continues through June 1, 2008
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.