San Diego outdoors: Aida, animal tracks, rugby, SUP with dogs, 1800s Old Town, waterski and wakeboard
Indoors: WWI San Diego, complete history of theater, Christopher Plummer, pickles, Van Gogh-Gaughin, Martina McBride
11:50 a.m., June 28
Called "a new Gershwin musical comedy" when first produced in 1992, Crazy's actually a book, written by Ken Ludwig, used as a vehicle to feature many of Broadway's most unforgettable songs. As I watched Starlight's at times glitchy but entertaining opening night, I wondered what it would have been like if Crazy were a genuine Gershwin musical. How would an audience, sometime in the 1930s, have felt hearing so many classics - "Embraceable You," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "They Can't Take That Away from Me," and "Someone to Watch Over Me" - for the first time? Not to mention having "I Got Rhythm" as the Act One curtain! That would have been a miraculous, albeit temporary, antidote to the Depression. Bobby Child, NYC playboy, goes to Deadrock, Nevada ("the armpit of the West"), to foreclose a theater. Were this a melodrama, he'd be the mustache-twisting villain. But Bobby's a natural born hoofer who just wants to dance. By musical's end, complications flop like fake Hollywood façades, and "Things Are Looking Up" for everyone. Amid reluctant drops, lapsed lighting cues, and a terse, oddly bland conclusion, the Starlight show features big tap numbers and talented, triple-jointed Dennis Clark as the indefatigable Bobby. Clark's also adept at the Groucho Marx-like groaner comebacks Ludwig sprinkles throughout the script. Clark and Barry Pearl, who plays the producer Bela Zangler, steal the show with "What Causes That?" - in which Clark dresses as Zangler and they mirror each other's actions (Pearl at one point observing "I'm beside myself"). Musical director Parmer Fuller, as always, has the orchestra in fine shape.