After seeing this wondrous show, currently playing at the High Street Arts Center in Moorpark, many audience members will probably think it’s from the 1930s due to its light comedy, tap-heavy dance numbers and familiar, uncomplicated characters. But that’s the beauty of Ken Ludwig and Mike Ockrent’s creation. Jukebox musicals have been cheapened in recent years by taking anyone’s song catalog and shoving them into a storyline, but the difference is how well “Crazy For You” does this.

The story utilizes one of musical theater’s most familiar tropes: a stranger arrives in a moribund town and rejuvenates it through idealism, energy and enthusiasm. (You’ve seen it in “Damn Yankees,” “The Music Man,” “Footloose” and many others.) “Crazy For You” uses the Gershwins’ 1930 production “Girl Crazy” as a launching point and takes it from there.

After getting thrown off the set of “Zangler’s Follies” by its imperious producer Bela Zangler (loosely based on Florenz Ziegfeld), Broadway wannabe Bobby Child is sent by his millionaire banker mother to foreclose on a rundown theater in remote Deadrock, Nevada, a dying gold mining town. When he meets Polly Baker, “the only girl in town,” he falls head over heels in love and decides to revive the theater by putting on a show, calling in his Broadway friends to teach the local cowpokes how to dance. When she finds out his original intentions, she rejects him and Bobby proceeds to masquerade as Zangler himself, without realizing that the real Zangler is heading west to pursue Tessie, his beloved dance captain.

The plot is utter nonsense, but most 1930s Broadway books were just like that: escapist light comedy with a boffo score. In High Street’s production, Eric Schultz is great as Bobby, a well-intentioned city slicker with a song in his heart. Upon meeting Polly, he immediately bursts into song and sweeps her off her feet. For a relatively big man, Schultz has a cuddly, boyish charm and is light on his feet. Jacqueline Patrice, who has been fabulous in every production she’s been in, is a triple threat as Polly, with her girl-next-door good looks, a terrific voice and dancing prowess that makes difficult moves look easy. When she sings the Gershwins’ splendorous “Someone to Watch over Me,” you will melt into a warm puddle of goo.

The Gershwin numbers aren’t always employed as you might expect. The romantic “Embraceable You” is turned into a comic girl-chases-reluctant-boy number, sung by Polly to Bobby-as-Zangler, who doesn’t want to give away his true identity. In addition to other wellknown Gershwin numbers like “But Not For Me” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” the show exhumes some hidden gems, two of which become the show’s best comic numbers: “What Causes That?” (a song from 1928’s “Treasure Girl” that was thought to be lost) and “Naughty Baby,” from “Primrose,” an obscure 1924 musical seen only in London’s West End and Australia. (The former song pays homage to the Marx Brothers’ classic mirror routine from “Duck Soup.”) Brennen Klitzner almost runs away with the show as Lank Hawkins, owner of the local saloon who wants to take over the rundown theater himself. The cast also includes outstanding performances from director Darrin Ingram himself as the real Zangler, Whitney Grubb as Tessie and Brenda White as Bobby’s former girlfriend Irene.

Susan Ingram and Julie Hackett provided the period-perfect choreography (the “I Got Rhythm” tap number, incorporating gold mining tools, is brilliant) while Patrick Duffy worked wonders in creating much of the AI-derived scenery for High Street’s vaunted video wall.

“Crazy For You” plays through May 5 at High Street Arts Center, 45 E. High St., Moorpark. For tickets, go online to

Courtesy photo PERFECT RHYTH – MBroadway wannabe Bobby Child (Eric Schultz, right) falls for Polly (Jacqueline Patrice) in High Street Arts Center’s “Crazy For You.” The musical continues through May 5 in Moorpark.