Put on a happy face and take a time-capsule visit to 1960s small-town America in this frothy but durable confection, a delicious spoof of the rock-'n'-roll frenzy of the Elvis Presley era, coupled with a charmingly old-fashioned musical romance. Michael Stewart's giddily funny libretto and the zesty score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams have morphed into a tongue-in-cheek period piece that still packs a comedic punch. In the skilled hands of director-choreographer Dan Mojica, Birdie takes flight as an irresistible diversion. Scintillating lead performances, backed by sterling supporting turns, keep this production on an entertainment fast track. John Bisom as mama's-boy songwriter Albert and Natalie Nucci as Rose, his fiery Latina secretary and fiancée-to-be make a charming romantic pair, exhibiting triple-threat talent. Nucci soars in two showstopping bits: tantalizing a group of Shriners in the rousing "Shriner's Ballet" and parlaying the sardonic "Spanish Rose" into a tour de force highlight. Generating heat as the pelvis-swiveling, lady-killing teen idol Conrad Birdie, James Royce Edwards is hilarious, nailing the narcissism and galvanizing moves of this Presley-inspired character. Lana Hartwell is uproarious as Albert's guilt-inflicting, smothering mother. Heather Lee and an appropriately over-the-top John Martin are delightful as the concerned parents of rambunctious teen Kim (an ebullient Jill Townsend), who wins a kiss from Birdie on national TV. Terren Mueller excels as Kim's precocious young brother, and Robert Pieranunzi has splendid moments as Kim's desperately jealous boyfriend. Mojica's choreography is dazzling, and he makes expert use of Christopher Beyries' handsome and versatile set — '60s op-art with a touch of modern chic. Karen L. Cornejo's Technicolor-bright costumes and Darrel J. Clark's crisp lighting add to the visual panache. Music director Alby Potts and a fabulous orchestra keep the joint jumping with nostalgic '60s-esque numbers and quintessential Broadway show tunes.
Presented by Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach. Tue.-Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 & 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Sep. 20-Oct. 5. (310) 372-4477. www.civiclighopera.com.