A restaged version of the long-running Off-Broadway revue of the same title, NAKED BOYS SINGING delivers exactly what it promises.
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