"Dirty Little Showtunes": Theater Review

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Through Jan. 29 at New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. $24-$40; 861-8972 or www.nctcsf.org.

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What if Riff and Tony borrowed 'Nardo from Anita?" Either you get that reference or you don't — and if you don't, then you might consider skipping Dirty Little Showtunes. But if you have even a cursory knowledge of shows like West Side Story, and if you have a high tolerance for quips about every possible flavor of gay sex, then you should have a great time at this extravagantly clever revue. Conceived and directed by F. Allen Sawyer, with unusually sharp lyrics by Tom Orr, Dirty Little Showtunes manages to give nods to gay adoption, gay marriage, gay sluts, aging, leather daddies, drag queens, bears, STDs, and HIV meds over the course of two fast-moving hours. First produced in 1997, the show returns to New Conservatory with some of its original cast members, along with parodies of songs from recent Broadway hits like Hairspray and Wicked. But the heart of the show remains its loving send-ups of chestnuts from The Pirates of Penzance, Anything Goes, and Sweet Charity, with all of the lyrics rewritten to be genuinely filthy. Featuring a game energetic cast and a superabundance of wit, this is one revue that doesn't feel like a rehash.

 
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