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Rex Reed

January 2001

Pete 'N' Keely is a late holiday stocking stuffer at the John Houseman Theater on W. 42nd St. that has Broadway insiders cheering. Cleverly directed by Mark Waldrop, the wunderkind behind the riotous When Pigs Fly, and satirically written by James (A Christmas Survival Guide) Hindman, the show is about an ab-fab singing team (more Steve and Eydie than Sonny and Cher), divorced but reunited for one of those Ed Sullivan-like TV variety specials in 1968. Adorable Sally Mayes and camera-ready Rock Hudson clone George Dvorsky are the stars, and Bob Mackie has designed a dazzling array of costumes that reflect the flared bell bottoms and sequins of late Sixties fashions with humor and panache. As Pete and Keely try to hide their mutual hatred and bare their caps in frozen smiles, the show takes them on a nostalgic tour of their career that includes a hilarious spoof of their one flop Broadway show, a spoof of Anthony and Cleopatra called Tony and Cleo, and a flag-waving national tour comprising a medley of 50 songs, one for every state in the union. The plot evaporates faster than the fizz in a glass of Dr. Pepper, but Ms. Mayes and Mr. Dvorsky will make you surrender unconditionally when they do what they do best, which is sing, sing, and sing some more. She knocks your snow boots off with a hot arrangement of "Black Coffee", he stops the show with a hip-swirling "Fever", and there's a big production of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" that has to be seen to be believed. A magnet for celebrities (Bette Midler and Reba McIntyre were there on the same night), Pete 'N' Keely is Broadway in a bottle--the brightest, happiest, and most entertaining little show in town.

 
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