Our critics weigh in on local theater

Shopping! The Musical. Some theater types want to be Hamlet; others want to be Liza Minnelli. The smiling, hardworking performers in this new musical revue definitely fall into the latter category. Lyricist-composer Morris Bobrow uses his infectious, irreverent humor to great effect as he pays homage to the highs and lows of our compellingly crass commercial culture. He uses the small, cramped theater in a straightforward manner — four center-stage stools and an amusing backdrop provide the set. The accomplished accompanist Ben Keim keeps things lively on one side of the stage behind an upright piano. The actors lead us through songs that bring to mind Jerry Seinfeld's sharp observations on mundane modern life: "Shopping in Style" extols the virtues of Costco, and "Serious Shopping" imagines a man trying to buy lettuce from a riotously over-the-top grocery cult. The musical runs just over an hour, yet it still has a few rough spots. The mid-show sketch "Checking Out" gives us a limp comedic premise that we've seen before on sub-par sitcoms, and the piece "5 & 10" is a mix of awkward nostalgia and pitch problems. Nevertheless, this is a clever collection of tunes performed with an unabashedly cheesy enthusiasm that would make Liza proud. In an open-ended run at the Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (between Powell and Mason), S.F. Tickets are $25-29; call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.shoppingthemusical.com. (Frank Wortham) Reviewed June 14.

Also Playing

1906: A Journey Through the Mystical City Theatre 39 at Pier 39, 2 Beach (Beach & Embarcadero).

2 Pianos, 4 Hands San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio (at South Third St.), San Jose, 408-367-7255.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Post Street Theatre, 450 Post (at Mason), 321-2900

BATS: Sunday Players Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan, 474-6776.

Battle-of-the-Bay Theatresports Tournament Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason, Bldg. B (Marina & Buchanan), 474-8935.

Baum for Peace The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Beach Blanket Babylon Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

Beautiful Home for the Incurable Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida (at Mariposa), 285-8282.

Beyond Therapy Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.

Boccanegra Idomeneo Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth St. & Mission, 247-6500.

The Chainsaw Massacres CELLspace, 2050 Bryant (at 18th St.), 648-7562.

Death and the Maiden The Next Stage, 1620 Gough (at Bush), Trinity Episcopal Church, 333-6389.

The Fabulous Adventures of Captain Queer New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972.

Farewell to the Tooth Fairy Shotwell Studios, 3252A 19th St. (at Folsom), 289-2000.

GayProv Off-Market Studio, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.

Happy End Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.

Heidi Chronicles Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.

Hunter Gatherers The Thick House, 1695 18th St. (at Arkansas), 401-8081.

Lady Day In Love The Fellowship Church, 2041 Larkin (at Broadway), 776-4910.

The Law Project The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Love, Chaos & Dinner Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery), 273-1620.

Love, Janis Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter (at Mason), 771-6900.

Love Letters Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), 392-4400.

Menopause the Musical Theatre 39 at Pier 39, 2 Beach (Beach & Embarcadero), 433-3939.

Monday Night Make Em Ups San Francisco Comedy College, 414 Mason, #705 (at Geary), 921-2051.

Monday Night Marsh The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Mort Sahl's America Empire Plush Room, York Hotel, 940 Sutter (at Hyde), 885-2800.

Oh My Goddess The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Papa Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.

Pomp and Circumstance Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.

San Francisco Improv Festival Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton (at Webster), 863-1076.

Seussical USF Presentation Theater, 2350 Turk (at Masonic), 422-2434.

Sperm Warfare Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.

Summer Performance Festival Shotwell Studios, 3252A 19th St. (at Folsom), 289-2000.

Vagina Dentata Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.

Vanities Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro (at Mercy), Mountain View, 650-903-6000.

We Are Not These Hands The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby (at MLK Jr.), Berkeley, 510-841-6500.

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