The revue "More Crazy Tunes" at Center Stage in Woodland Hills continues in the tradition of the long-running "Crazy Words, Crazy Tunes," which was at the same venue beginning in 1992 and later moved to larger quarters.
But the new title could alarm fans of the first show. It sounds as if the new revue emphasizes tunes, not words. And, after all, it's the lyrics of these novelty songs of the '20s, '30s and '40s that justify that "crazy" in the title.
Never fear. The list of titles provided to critics (but unfortunately omitted from the program, along with songwriters' credits) gives an example of the level of lyrical zaniness, if not pure craziness, that's on display here.
"Oogie Oogie Wa Wa." "It's Hard to Tell the Depth of a Well by the Length of the Handle on the Pump." "Prunes." "I've Never Seen a Straight Banana."
Indeed, the cast of five singer-dancers in this show must memorize pages of sometimes tongue-twisting lyrics. They're up to this task and every other one in this revue, compiled and written by Milt Larsen and Gene Casey.
Such insubstantial material could grow tiresome if the pacing lagged, but Casey's direction and Joe Giamalva's intimate musical staging keep everything moving. Although at least 39 songs are in the show, it lasts barely 90 minutes, including intermission.
Smoothly handsome Michael Rotondi not only sings and dances with aplomb but also whips out a trumpet for the "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" finale. J.C. Murad is a stocky, versatile comic. The two of them appear several times as a duo instructing us in some of the quirkier points of "Etiquette."
Among the trio of women, dark-haired Susan Cardillo is the riveter coming home from the night shift, asking her milkman to keep those bottles quiet. Kayre Morrison, with flaming red hair, is the "Cow Cow Boogie" specialist. Tall, blond Nancy Osborne does a nifty Woody Woodpecker imitation.
One of the ensemble's more memorable moments has the quintet in tourist outfits, bearing AAA maps, singing about "Pico and Sepulveda." Fans of frivolous nostalgia should instead seek out Ventura and De Soto, the major cross streets for the Center Stage.
* "More Crazy Tunes," Center Stage at the Enchanted Forest, 20929 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, 2 p.m. Indefinitely. $10-$17. (818) 761-5520. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.