A slice of show tune heaven 

Show tunes, anyone? They’re alive and well in “Forever Broadway,” receiving an encore presentation at the Herbst Theatre this weekend.

The production is the brainchild of John Bisceglie, creator of last year’s “S.F. Follies.”

While “Follies” was a costume comedy in the vein of “Beach Blanket Babylon,” this two-hour, 40-minute revue falls more along the lines of a pageant, featuring literally dozens of local performers.

Costumes and production values are decidedly more modest – there’s not much in the way of sets or props – but that doesn’t dampen the spirits of some 80 singers and dancers comprising the dedicated cast; they’re obviously show tune lovers themselves.

The show compiles songs from most major Broadway musicals, from “Anything Goes” to “West Side Story” and nearly everyone in between. (Among the 55 tunes in the lineup, “Oklahoma!” seems to be the only show not represented.)

Dressed simply in black slacks and shirts, company members appear in various permutations in the show – solos, duos, trios, and often backed by the rest of the troupe.

Things start off with Keith Stevenson and the company with “Show People” from “Curtains” and move quickly to “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” from “Fiddler on the Roof” with Brooke Wallace, Moira McManus and LeAnna Sharp.

Standouts include Jujuana Williams in “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from “Dreamgirls” and Desiree Goyette in “Send in the Clowns” from “A Little Night Music.”

Brett Hammon and Jenna Davi perform a beautiful duet of “Tonight” from “West Side Story.”

In Act 2, the numbers come from different sources – they’re newer, or less familiar, including songs from “Rent,” “Avenue Q” and “Hairspray” in the former category.

In the latter group are notable performances of “If I Didn’t Believe in You” from “The Last Five Years,” sung by Jason Hite, and Suzanne Henry singing “Stars and the Moon” from “Songs for a New World.”

With such a massive cast on Herbst’s not-so-massive stage, the choreography isn’t as impressive as it might be in bigger theater. Still, there are some clever numbers, including the charming “Rich Man’s Frug,” a dance with no vocals, from “Sweet Charity.”

While “Forever Broadway” isn’t a big-ticket item along the lines of “Wicked,” it’s got a fun, community celebratory vibe that can’t be beat, particularly for musical theater lovers.


THEATER REVIEW  
Forever Broadway

Where: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $25
Contact: (415) 302-4400, www.cityboxoffice.com

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Leslie Katz

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