Both Fitzgerald and Roger Michelson, her leading man and real-life boyfriend, do what they can with this hackneyed stuff. Michelson, in fact, was born to play Simon. He has the sort of facile demeanor and doofy stage presence that distinguishes most of Simon's neurotic male leads. And Fitzgerald provides the only real spark in several dreary scenes with the show's supporting players. But Simon's foolproof material is intended for actors with half her range, and it's a shame to see her waste her talent on this tripe.
By way of explanation for this elegant slumming, Fitzgerald has told every paper in town that she didn't take the Burke revue when it was offered to her because she couldn't bear to sing the score after the recent death of her friend and Swinging co-star, Alvaleta Guess. Stories making the rounds of the theater community suggest otherwise. Whatever the reason, she passed up a most appropriate vehicle for her return to Phoenix and the opportunity for local audiences to see her in the show that made her a Broadway contender and which, it appears, has made Sally Jo Bannow the one to watch.
Arizona Theatre Company's production of Swinging on a Star: The Johnny Burke Musical continues through Sunday, January 19, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe.
Chapter Two continues through Sunday, January 26, at Phoenix Theatre, Central and McDowell.