CAMBRIDGE - “Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister / And Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man.’’ That’s the bit from Irving Berlin’s “Sisters’’ that prompted the title of the new “autobiographical fiction’’ from David Parker and the Bang Group, “Misters and Sisters: A Love Story in Song and Dance.’’ Last Wednesday, Summer Stages Dance brought the show to Oberon, where there will be a second performance tomorrow. Inspired by and dedicated to Parker’s father, the late Boston crime novelist Robert B. Parker, this 70-minute cabaret show affords Parker and his professional partner of 21 years, Jeffrey Kazin, the opportunity to play both misters and sisters as they celebrate their love of song and dance and their affection for each other in a dizzying display of terpsichorean fireworks.
The Bang Group, which is Summer Stages Dance’s company-in-residence at Concord Academy, has in its repertoire the “Nutcracker’’ parody “Nut/Cracked’’ and the Parker-Kazin duets “Slapstuck’’ (think Velcro) and “Friends of Dorothy’’ (think “The Wizard of Oz’’), so it’s no surprise that “Misters and Sisters’’ is as much comedy as love story. At Oberon, even the pre-curtain music is to the point; you can make out “Me and My Shadow’’ and “I Enjoy Being a Girl.’’ When the house lights come up and the show begins, it’s a surprise then to see the other two cast members, Nic Petry and Amber Sloan, hoofing to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Waltz for a Ball’’ while a couple of nondescript-looking characters in hoodies and jeans watch from chairs on opposite sides of the stage.
But then Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “In My Own Little Corner’’ starts up, and Parker and Kazin rise from their chairs, doff their sweats, and swing into action: Parker in a spangly tight black miniskirt and tap shoes, Kazin in spangly black pants and pointe shoes, Parker singing “I’m a girl men go mad for / Love’s a game I can play,’’ Kazin executing some nifty entrechat six. Kazin welcomes the audience to Oberon, explaining that though he grew up in Waltham (“It wasn’t the destination spot then that it is now’’) and Parker in Lynnfield, they didn’t meet till they both went to New York. Then they break into “Sisters,’’ singing creditably and shimmying more convincingly than Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen did in the movie “White Christmas.’’
Misters and Sisters: A Love Story in Song and Dance
The show pays homage to the musicals Parker and Kazin grew up watching on television in the 1970s, with such songs as “You Were Meant for Me’’ and “Tea for Two’’ and “I Fall in Love Too Easily.’’ Some numbers they just dance to, like the teenage Jane Powell’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow’’; some, like “Never Will I Marry’’ and “I’ll Never Say No to You,’’ they sing themselves, with music director Anna Ebbesen at the piano. There’s a lot of barefoot spoofing and horseplay. During “All I Do Is Dream of You,’’ Parker and Kazin strike bathing-beauty poses and chase Petry (dressed in a white bow tie, white tuxedo vest, and orange shorts, no shirt) around the stage. At the end of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,’’ the pair wind up with one arm each in a sleeve of the same coat.
After Sloan dances out a tribute to New York in “Downtown,’’ Parker and Kazin wrap it up with “An Old Fashioned Wedding,’’ which Berlin wrote for the 1966 revival of “Annie Get Your Gun.’’ Wearing dark three-piece suits, the two engage in a tap battle in the song’s middle section, as if to say (to borrow a sentiment from the same musical), “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.’’ Whether they’re entwining in song, in dance, or in each other’s arms, Parker and Kazin do it awfully well.
Jeffrey Gantz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.