Will Clinger and Bret Tuomi exude the spirit of Hope and Crosby (but look more like Laurel and Hardy) in this Theater Wit musical, written by Clinger and James Fitzgerald. The story follows the rise and fall of Rise and Shine, a vaudeville duo enamored of their bombshell producer, from a “freak show carnival” in Kankakee to big revues in “the big city.” The cast brings lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek energy to each scene: the wisecracking is whip smart, the melodies have hooks, the lyrics are catchy, and the whole show moves at a ba-dum-bum pace. Director Jeremy Wechsler gets clever gags out of inaccurate spotlights and out-of-sync sound effects and destroys not only the fourth wall but the first: occasionally he uses the curtain at the rear of the stage as a front curtain for Rise and Shine’s shows within the show. Through 4/22: Thu-Sat 8:15 PM, Sun 2:30 PM, Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252, $30.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Johnny Knight.