Martin Short's Broadway-bound revue should delight fans of the Canadian-born comedian, who trots out some of his popular characters (Jiminy Glick, Ed Grimley, Irving Cohen, Jackie Rogers Jr.) and displays astonishing energy with his singing, dancing, tumbling, and Peter Pan-style flying. But this trippy, free-associative "party with Marty," which purports to relate his saga from birth to death and beyond, has much besides its star to recommend it. Short has surrounded himself with talent: MADtv's Nicole Parker, Mary Birdsong (whose Judy Garland imitation is brilliant), fey song-and-dance man Brooks Ashmanskas, belter Capathia Jenkins, and pianist-songwriter Marc Shaiman (who wrote the show with Short, Daniel Goldfarb, Alan Zweibel, and director Scott Wittman). The gag-filled script takes aim at celebrity angst, award shows, the male obsession with "big titties," and stereotypes of Jews, blacks, and gays in showbiz; the songs cleverly parody musicals from The Wizard of Oz and Godspell to Dreamgirls, Company, and Wicked. The humor is campy, risque, and sometimes gleefully tasteless; through it all, Short and his ensemble brilliantly convey the sheer joy of performing while satirizing the entertainer's compulsive hunger for approval. Through 7/16: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, LaSalle Bank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, 312-902-1400, $32-$82.50.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Paul Kolnik.