Featuring some 30 songs made popular by female British singers in the 1960s, Shout! The Mod Musical won't be remembered for breaking new ground. But in terms of sheer glee, this homage to the era's music and its spirit of burgeoning sexual liberation can't be beat.
Theatregoers will smile when they see David Gallo's scenic design, with its huge plastic Day-Glo flowers and plush-carpeted platforms. When the quintet of performers appears, first in classic belted raincoats in primary colors (each color represents a type of the period) and later in miniskirts and dresses courtesy of costume designer Philip Heckman, the sense of period is complete.
Creators Phillip George (who has directed fleetly) and David Lowenstein (who has choreographed ably) frame the numbers sparingly. The decade is chronicled by the women's letters to their favorite mod magazine, Shout!, in which they ask for advice from Gwendolyn Holmes (whose voice is provided by the always delightful Carole Shelley), a woman of the old school who suggests pedicures and new hairdos to solve almost any problem.
For an insightful look at the changing role of women in the '60s, however, audiences should look elsewhere. This is a show about the music-and the performers don't disappoint. Erin Crosby brings the gospel-infused "Son of a Preacher Man" marvelously to life. Denise Summerford fills "To Sir, With Love" with heartfelt emotion. Erica Schroeder plays the "slut" of the group, bringing a sultry flair to all her numbers, but most memorable is her deft combination of sensuality and humor while singing "Goldfinger."
With the most realized story line, Julie Dingman Evans manages to give "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" a terrific subtext. Conversely, Marie-France Arcilla has the most underrealized character, yet she delivers her numbers with a wonderfully smoky and powerful voice.
Presented by Victoria Lang & P.P. Piccoli, Brent Peek, and Mark Schwartz at the Julia Miles Theatre, 424 W. 55th St., NYC. July 27-Dec. 10, 2006. Tue., 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Wed., Sat., and Sun., 3 p.m. (212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com.