courtesy photoLucas Coleman

‘It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane’ makes Superman a hoot

With the invigorating “It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman,” 42nd Street Moon has dusted off a cute and charming 1960s-era musical that, inexplicably, has fallen from public consciousness.

Created in 1966 by the folks responsible for “Bye Bye Birdie” (Charles Strouse, music; Lee Adams, lyrics; David Newman and Robert Benton, book), this “Superman” boasts the same sweetly satirical tone as the beloved Elvis Presley-fandom spoof.

Only here, the dashing “Man of Steel” is the object of derision, in the best way possible. Though he’s the strongest man in the world, Superman gets cut down to size by a female mad scientist in cahoots with an Italian family of acrobats — hilarious!

Of course, reporter Lois Lane is along for the ride, as are Daily Planet cohorts: self-centered gossip columnist Max Mencken and his sort of lovelorn assistant, Sydney, who makes a play for Superman alter-ego Clark Kent.

Bright, splashy and bursting with comic book-inspired, primary-colored sets and costumes, “It’s a Bird,” directed with glee and vigor by Dyan McBride, is oodles of fun from start to finish. And it’s packed with catchy songs that develop character: Superman’s “Doing Good,” evil Dr. Sedgwick’s “Revenge,” even Lois’ cringe-inducing, pre-feminist “What I’ve Always Wanted.”

The performers have a great time with the breezy material. Lucas Coleman terrifically morphs from can-do Superman to dweeby Clark Kent, while sweet-voiced Jen Brooks captures Lois’ conundrum over loving an unattainable superhero.

Brent Schindele gives conceited columnist Max Mencken punchy ardor, while Safiya Fredericks, as his take-no-sass secretary, has possibly the show’s best number, the Clark Kent makeover-themed “You’ve Got Possibilities.”

Darlene Popovic reaps laughs as the wacky scientist out for Superman, and Trevor Faust Marcom is sympathetic as Jim, the “regular” guy who falls for Lois.

Chorus members — gals sporting go-go boots, bouncing to Staci Arriaga’s groovy choreography, men cavorting as the amazing Grimaldi family — wonderfully get their moments in the spotlight, too.

REVIEW

It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman

Presented by 42nd Street Moon

Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 6 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays; closes Oct. 20

Tickets: $25 to $75

Contact: (415) 255-8207, www.42ndstreetmoon.org

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