A solid ensemble of singers puts over this mild revue of Johnny Burke songs, but it probably won’t make Burke any better known than the lyricist of “Misty” and “What’s New” already is now, which is primarily among the cabaret cognoscenti. Devised by Michael Leeds, “Swinging on a Star” is a compilation musical in the fashion of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,””Five Guys Named Moe” and the current “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” It’s blander than all of those shows, but then, so are most of the songs represented here.
“Swinging” tries relentlessly to please — there’s lots of forced audience participation, particularly in the first act — but it’s notably short on emotional wallop. The singers and the arrangements are mostly tepid, the material devised to connect the songs very creaky indeed.
The only standout is the first-rate onstage band, led by Barry Levitt, with particularly strong contributions from Gary Guzio on trumpet and Bill Easley on sax.
Still, it’s a decent production, inoffensive at best, and it should have a fair to middling run. It looks great at the Music Box and will certainly draw the tourist crowd at the TKTS booth, at least through the holiday season.