“PETE ‘N’ KEELY”  LIGHT UP THE MUSIC THEATRE OF CONNECTICUT STAGE

By Bonnie Goldberg

As singing duos go, Peter Bartel and Keeley Stevens had a good run of a dozen years at the top of the hit parade.  These “swingin’ sweethearts” were a household name with their pictures on lunch boxes until their marriage and their career hit the rocks and you couldn’t find their likeness on a milk carton.

Their elevator ride to success and their crash to the bottom basement floor is chronicled in the delightful musical cabaret show “Pete ‘n’ Keely” at Westport’s Music Theatre of Connecticut’s intimate black box stage until Sunday, June 13.  The show by James Hindman has original music by Patrick Brady and original lyrics by Mark Waldrop.

The NBC Peacock is fanning its colorful feathers over a reunion show of America’s former singing sweeties, after their disastrous breakup at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas five years ago.  The pair has a whole clothesline full of recriminations and accusations to air as they step up to the microphone again.

In between such notable numbers as “This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” “Fever” and “Lover Come Back,”  they manage to inflict verbal damage about her workaholic attitude and his womanizing ways.  Silly songs about shampoo and patriotism, Egypt, Antony and Cleopatra as well as geographical hopscotching numbers like “The Cross Country Tour” lighten the mood as they spar on stage.

Kristin Huffman’s Keely is a wonderful match for Tony Lawson’s Pete as they vocally review their career and marriage history and how they got to where they are today:  divorced.  Kevin Connors directs this musical romp set in New York City in 1968.

For tickets ($40, $20 seniors and students), call MTC, 246 Post Road East, Westport at 203-454-3883 or online at www.musictheatreofct.com.  Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Watch the sparks fly and flare as the debonair Pete meets the sophisticated Keely and they find themselves in the awkward and unusual position of falling in love all over again.

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