Van Peebles back on Broadway

Waltz of the Stork

''Comedy with music,'' by Melvin Van Peebles. Produced and directed by and starring Mr. Van Peebles.

Melvin Van Peebles has returned to Broadway after a 10-year absence with a rambling reminiscence, an odyssey to saxophone accompaniment, and an almost one-man show. ''Waltz of the Stork,'' at the downstairs Century Theater, begins in the cradle and ends with a paean to New York. But mostly it is about the Van Peebles character, Edward Aloysius Younger, his travels at home and abroad (including involuntary involvement in an African war), his amorous adventures, and his return to the woman he loved and deserted.

Amiable in tone, generally ingratiating, and sometimes amusing, ''Waltz of the Stork'' might have been twice as entertaining if it had been half as long. Bob Carten's baritone sax, now mellow, now mournful, makes its own contribution, but hardly serves as the ideal accompaniment for Mr. Van Peebles's raspy singing of several incidental songs (mostly by the producer-director-author-composer-star). Singer-dancers C. J. Critt and Mario Van Peebles scamper on and off in a number of incidental roles intended to add atmosphere to a generally lackluster entertainment.

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