High Society 

If you can fit some tongue-in-cheek synchronized swimming into a show, I'm for it. Footlite does it with a fond nod to Hollywood musicals and the 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story. That great Hepburn/Grant/Stewart concoction morphed into the 1956 movie musical High Society and the 1998 Broadway version. Cole Porter wrote songs for the movie, but Broadway added some older Porter tunes and new lyrics. This cutting and pasting forgets that musical characters are crafted from musical themes as much as dialogue. Much can be forgiven here, because the witty Philadelphia dialogue is worked well by the four leads: Eric Karwisch as the yachtsman who woos his ex-wife on the eve of her second wedding; Bobbi Bates as the socialite who would rather marry a dull man than take another chance on love; Robert Schmelzer as the reporter who skinny dips with the socialite; and Cathy Tolzmann as the photographer dodging an elderly lush. Child actress Claire Cassidy is a triple threat as the bride's little sister, a talented singer/dancer with snappy delivery. The show's torch songs alternately soar and flail. Comic romantic chases go nicely around faux hedges and marble railings. Satin gowns shimmer in frothy numbers like "She's Got That Thing" and "Let's Misbehave." Nips and tucks would improve the production overall, but not in the essential: the fine singing of Karwisch and Bates, accompanied by an understated flush, an unseen knot that ties them together. Through March 29; 317-926-6630.

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