Three and a half stars
Footlite Musicals; directed by Bill Hale
You gotta be sincere to stage this, the original high school musical. Real Indianapolis high schoolers portray a nostalgic America in which teens teeter between childhood and adulthood in bobby socks, baggy sweaters and yards and yards of gingham. No glitter, no glam, except for their Elvis-like teen idol Conrad Birdie, who sends kids and parents alike into a vicariously enjoyable mass swoon in the hip swiveling “Honestly Sincere.” If none of the community cast completely knocks your socks off, all of them show real talent, promise or, at the least, total commitment to the show. Christopher Noffke brings grace and a lovely, raspy voice to the role of Albert, the weak-willed music promoter in pursuit of his “Spanish” secretary. Raven-haired Shari Raper, wearing a trunk load of ’60s suits and floral prints, brings a strong voice to his Rosie. Vickie Lynch is delightful as the fur-wearing, guilt-wielding mother. Jonathan Pittman and Kathleen Clarke-Horrigan (even with laryngitis last weekend) deserve note as small-town parents. With familiar tunes like “Put on a Happy Face,” a less-remembered but wonderful “Baby, Talk to Me” and dancing more enthusiastic than accomplished, cast and director Bill Hale wring a sweetness from this silly story about the advent of the world’s biggest generation gap. Through Dec. 7; 317-926-6630.