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Music Box Theater's Oscar in the Box: Cabaret at Its Best

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The setup: If you want to go to the movies with five friends, who better to accompany you than the talented quintet at Music Box Theater?

The execution: This musical send-up of movie genres is a lively romp, filled with silly parodies yet heartfelt renditions of complementary songs that, while not always Oscar winners, are awarded with all the professional polish that this group so effortlessly possesses.

Brad Scarborough, one of the talented five, gets accidentally whacked on the head by real-life wife Rebekah Dahl and he spends the evening trapped in movie mayhem trying to get back home. There's a James Bond goof, "my mood is shaken, not stirred," radiantly offset by Colton Berry's rendition of Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager's ballad from The Spy Who Loved Me, "Nobody Does It Better." Cay Taylor, all innocent but knowing, plaintively hugs Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home," while Luke Wrobel, during the Godfathers, Goodfellas and Goombahs section with mafia master Don Cortisone and daughter Mary Nara (it's funnier in person, trust me), spins the classic Herman Hupfeld song from Casablanca, "As Time Goes By," and turns it into pure vocal butter.

Dahl gets her golden chance with a muscular rock rendition of Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford's "Holding Out for a Hero," appropriated from Footloose, during the Action movies parody, and she positively shines during the second act in Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin's "The Man That Got Away" from A Star Is Born. Meanwhile in the sci-fi movie parody, who should show up but E.T., in the very short form of Berry on his knees wearing a towel over his head? It's so ridiculous, it's sublime. Scarborough shows off his impeccable showmanship and silvery voice with his interpretation of Roy Orbison and Bill Dees's "Oh, Pretty Woman" and Alex North and Hy Zaret's poignant and haunting "Unchained Melody."

The verdict:

Perfectly accompanied by the jazz quartet of G Sharp and the MBT 3 (Glenn Sharp, Mark McCain, Long Le and Donald Payne), all five talents comprise cabaret at its best. The show is inconsequential, just an excuse for the incredible musical entertainment. As they sing so wondrously: Nobody does it better. Oscars for everybody.

The musical revue runs through April 28 at Music Box Theater, 2623 Colquitt. Purchase tickets online at www.themusicboxtheater.com or call 713-522-7722.

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