‘Shopping! The Musical’ charges ahead 

The revue "Shopping! The Musical" is about to celebrate a year running in the cozy Shelton Theater off Union Square, and it’s not a surprise. Billed as the "the show for everyone who has ever shopped," the fun, minimalist production is the perfect salve for a tourist tired after a busy day on his or her feet, or even for an office worker easing into the weekend.

Writer-director Morris Bobrow shows just how far a simple, clever, universal idea can go. The theme is backed up with four good singers, able accompanist Ben Keim, a few everyday props and a backdrop that clearly didn’t require the services of the folks over at Lucasfilm Ltd. Fundamental as it is, the set, a screen painted with familiar credit card logos — the blue and gold "Squeeza" and circles on a black background, "Master Gouge" — does its job.

As does the cast. David Goodwin, Sara Hauter, Rana Kangas-Kent and Kim Larsen get things off to a strong start with "The Word," a bouncy, urgent tune revealing the power of a particular four letters: S-A-L-E.

Other tunes in the fast-paced, hour-long romp are a little less universally appealing, such as "The Big Break," about a struggling performer’s entry into show biz — playing piano at Nordstrom, or a lament about the overuse of handling charges called "Shipper’s Delight."

While he isn’t a Tom Lehrer or a Cole Porter, Bobrow (creator of other long-running Bay Area shows "Are We Almost There?" and "Party of One") does have a way with a lyric, with gems like, "Browsing can be arousing." An ode to Costco calls it a place where you "could get a gross of frozen quiches or a case of 62 dog leashes"; the bluesy ditty "High Roller" describes a fellow who "won’t waste time clipping out a coupon to save 20 cents on Grey Poupon."

Each cast member has a solo spotlight number. Goodwin whines about the music played in stores in "Sounding Off," Larsen freaks out buying lingerie for his wife in "What Am I Doing Here?" and Kangas-Kent goes overboard with online shopping in "Click."

Hauter stands out in two great songs: "A Fit Fit" about purchasing blue jeans ("It’s all about the hiney and making it seem tiny") and an honest-to-goodness heartfelt ballad about the joys of the "5 & 10," where you can buy wax lips, T-shirts, bobby pins and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Yet the group numbers — the country-flavored song about hardware heaven, the rant about junk found at street fairs and the over-the-top New Age experience of a "Holy Foods" supermarket — are the show’s best offerings.

IF YOU GO

Shopping! The Musical ???

Where: Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter St,, San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Tickets: $27 to $29

Contact: (800) 838-3006 or

www.brownpapertickets.com

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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