Remember Allan Sherman?
If you are already smiling remembering the song parodist who was a regular on 1960s television, then you likely are going to love “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah! The Allan Sherman Musical” appearing through July 6 at Stage Door Theatre.
The slap-shtick panache of sight gags and wordplay would be comfortable onstage in the Catskills, and much of it works here, particularly with a cast and three-piece band giving it everything they got. Think “Weird Al” Yankovic, but not as mean.
The loose thread of a story stringing together Sherman’s parodies rests on Barry Brockman (James Parks), who even as a baby is entranced with fellow infant Sarah Jackman (Eva Marie Mastrangelo), singing her name in a song to the tune of “Frere Jacques.”
And so it goes, as Barry and Sarah go to school, singing, “Won’t You Come Home Disraeli” to the tune of “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey.” Then, it’s off to summer camp — cue the titular mega-hit, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah” — before the two are melded in couplehood.
All along, the show offers more of Sherman’s parodies to standards such as “Shine On Harvest Moon,” “Glow Worm” and “Downtown,” some effortlessly slipped into the action and others wedged into the plot with a hammer. To their credit, the other cast members sing with gusto and hit the punch lines as hard as they can. Sarah Sirota, Shane R. Tanner and Ryan Halsaver all play various characters, and play them with enough energy to power another musical with the afterburn alone.
It’s all mildly amusing, if not a tad dusty, up until the wedding of Barry and Sarah, at the end of the first act. Tanner comes on as Uncle Phil and hijacks everything with one groaner of a joke after another. But the toast, which goes on for about 10 deliciously whacked-out minutes, is one of the highlights of the two-hour musical (with a 15-minute intermission).
The second act is more of the same: a baby; a move to the suburbs; looking back on life. It is in that last oh-so-brief reflection that the musical throws in two numbers from “The Fig Leaves Are Falling,” a far more serious musical with book and lyrics by Sherman that landed with a thud on Broadway in 1969, despite the talents of Dorothy Loudon and David Cassidy. Yes, THAT David Cassidy. But those two songs — “Did I Ever Really Live?” and “Like Yours” — add a little sweet to what has been a lot of sour.
Not that “sour” is a bad thing in this case. It’s just the lingering taste here. So much so that you may not be able to resist adding, in your imagination, a little Jackie Mason/Shecky Greene rim shot or Charlie Brown-esque waaah-waaah to some songs.
There is one more hysterically funny part, a bit about retirement in Miami Beach with some golden jokes. (A senior citizen says, “Oy.” His wife asks, “ ‘Oy’ your back, or ‘oy’ your legs?”). Then, the whole thing closes with a peppy medley, presumably of songs that just didn’t fit into the narrative.
“Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah!” is a cute show with performers mining the most out of familiar melodies. It isn’t more than that, nor should it be.
IF YOU GO:
Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah!
Where: Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs
Cost: $38 (students $16)
Contact: 954-344-7765 or StageDoorTheatre.com.