'Something for the Boys': lively Porter revival

Cole Porter's ''Something for the Boys'' was a hit in 1942, not so much for the book (by Herbert and Dorothy Fields), which is silly, or the songs, which are not really vintage Porter, but because it starred Ethel Merman, one of Broadway's hottest items at the time.

The show has been revived by Bandwagon in a small theater in the historic Ansonia Hotel on upper Broadway. It's a necessarily small-scale production, with an orchestra consisting of a piano, drums, and a bass. But there is a good deal of imagination at work, and the cast has a whale of a time putting forth this slender mix of triteness and corn.

Carleton Carpenter, Patti Karr, and Virginia Martin are the three Hart cousins (Harry, Chiquita, and Blossom, respectively) who inherit a ranch in Texas, only to discover it is a rundown mess perched next to an Army base. Mackenzie Lee is Lt.

Miss Martin belts out songs with tremendous verve and a good dollop of heart. She possesses a well-attuned inner timing device that guarantees every last laugh. Miss Karr pouts expressively, milks a line well, and works deftly with Miss Martin - their ''Mississiniwah'' number is done show-stoppingly well. Mr. Carpenter makes much of his moments, Mr. Lee cuts a suitably romantic figure, and Miss McConnell offers a delectably unpleasant socialite.

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