You dont have to be hyper-PC to be somewhat creeped out by the story of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. A 1982 stage adaptation of the 1954 film, the frontier musical romance is set in the Oregon Territory of 1850, where a burly lumberjack courts a woman, marries her, then brings her home to meet his six burly brothers. (Thats right: seven lumberjacks.) Her feminine charms convince the brothers that they need wives of their own. So in the great spirit of American enterprise, they kidnap six women and hold them in their cabin through the long winter. (No, I am not making any of this up.) While this might be the most parody-worthy material ever to appear on the American stage, its got some proven elements: a smashing score by Gene DePaul and Johnny Mercerincluding Bless Your Beautiful Hide, Goin Courtin, and When Youre in Loveand the directorial talents of Allison Narver. Formerly artistic director at Empty Space, Narver cut her professional teeth with a long gig, Julie Taymors Lion King. She clearly has the chops to chomp into a big musicaland maybe have some fun with the bizarre subject matter! JOHN LONGENBAUGH
The 5th Avenue Theatre continues an amazing season with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, blowing it up with spectacular performances, high-flying choreography by Patti Colombo, and perfectly timed fight scenes by Geoffrey Alm. This play transports the audience into the Oregon Territorywhere men are burly and handsome and the women feisty and beautifuland the engaging, enjoyable, ridiculous battle of the sexes between Adam Pontipee and his six lonely brothers and Milly Bradon and her six lovely friends from town. Each dance and musical number made my jaw drop with delight as every cast member showcased their various talents for comedy, timing, and movement. If you think this show is dated and sexist, I promise the 5th Avenues production will change your mind. DYLAN SLADKY Fifth Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 625-1900, www.5thavenue.org. $22$81. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 1:30 & 7 p.m. Sun. (except Dec. 24 & 25). Ends Dec. 28.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1:30 & 7 p.m. Starts: Dec. 3. Continues through Dec. 28, 2008