Tinseltown tunefully outs itself in “Justin Love,” triumphantly opening the Celebration Theatre’s 30th anniversary season. Though not without its still-gelling aspects, this witty, full-hearted musical fable about an idealistic Hollywood assistant and the A-Lister he un-closets is as endearing an item as any in the venue’s history.
For instance, the one adroit establishing number, “Hollywood Opening”: Michigan transplant Chris (amber-voiced Tyler Ledon) goes from arrival -- “It smells like oranges and hope” -- to West Hollywood pick-up by struggling Donovan (wry Terrance Spencer) to promotion by top publicist Buck Ralston (Alet Taylor, tremendous in a career-making turn).
Buck, who makes Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly seem like Mother Teresa, handles hot property Justin Rush (Adam Huss, suitably toothsome), who is seemingly well-married to starlet Amanda Bell (Carrie St. Louis, utterly charming). Factor in Mitch (stalwart Ciarán McCarthy), a tabloid photographer from Amanda’s girlhood; Donovan’s new boyfriend Syd (hilarious Grant Jordan); and red carpet fisticuffs from which Chris helps Justin flee the paparazzi. A satirically shrewd, ultimately touching fairy tale about love, loyalty and self-identity unreels.
Masterfully directed by Michael Matthews, smartly conducted by Gregory Nabours, “Justin” gleefully sails around designer Stephen Gifford’s condo facade set (the fulcrum of a sensational design effort).