Theater: Soporific Spoof

Fade Out—Fade In is a musical comedy spoof of movies and moviemaking in the 1930s, but it unintentionally recalls a ritual of the prize ring—the introductory parade of ex-champs, somewhat fattened with age, who troop through the ropes, flash hearty grins at the crowd, and receive the perfunctory applause of nostalgic recognition. In more or less the same perfunctory way, Fade Out-Fade In gives walk-on-and-off bits of business to actors who play characters recognizable as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple and Bojangles Robinson, the Busby Berkeley chorines, Boris Karloff, Tarzan, Jean Harlow, the Marx Brothers, Garbo, Mae West, and...

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