Conceived by Robert Schrock, who earned his nude stripes in the 1971 musical The Dirtiest Show in Town, the show is a good-natured romp with a gimmick. But the gimmick isn't everything: While many of the songs — written by a diverse group of composers and lyricists — are explicitly about nudity, the trials and tribulations of love are just as prevalent. Most are old-fashioned show tunes, but there's a zippy disco number about bodybuilding and a country-tinged celebration of posing for nude photos. Comic numbers alternate with ballads, the attractive cast can really sing (and occasionally put their clothes on), and there's no overt sex — it’s a nude show, not an erotic one.
The opening number, "Gratuitous Nudity," simultaneously pokes gentle fun at the audience/viewer and offers implicit reassurance that just because all the actors are naked doesn't mean anyone taking a look is a dirty old perv. Among the subjects subsequently immortalized in song are the joys of being a naked maid and the sexiness of film-noir tough guys like Robert Mitchum, masturbation, pumping iron and being a nice Jewish boy from Skokie, Illinois, who's found his calling as a "Perky Little Porn Star." Sure, the choreography is undistinguished, the staging basic and the stage-to-film transition unimaginative. But overall the show is cute, affable, sweet rather than raunchy, and occasionally touching, as in the ballad "Kris, Look What You Missed," sung to a first lover who moved on too soon. And while the show and the film are clearly aimed at a gay audience, there are numbers — like "Fight the Urge," about the mortification of an unwanted erection — with which straight men can surely identify. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh
A restaged version of the long-running Off-Broadway revue of the same title, NAKED BOYS SINGING delivers exactly what it promises.