‘The Robber Bridegroom’ review: Steven Pasquale stars in the rollicking revival

The 1975 country-folk musical “The Robber Bridegroom,” which bills itself as “a Mississippi fairy tale,” is not so much a standard musical as it is a rollicking barroom jamboree where a bunch of storytellers and musicians come together to fool around and have a good time.

It had an unusual gestation (Patti LuPone and Kevin Kline were in the original cast) and played two very brief Broadway runs. Since then, it has been rarely performed, and the Roundabout Theatre Company’s highly enjoyable off-Broadway production starring Steven Pasquale (“Rescue Me”) marks its first major New York revival.

Pasquale plays Jamie Lockhart, a respectable riverside gentleman by day who morphs into a stylish and sexy criminal by night. As it turns out, his love interest, Rosamund (a high-powered Ahna O’Reilly), also has a double identity. The other characters consist of eccentric fools and villains (including a wicked stepmother played with scenery-chewing silliness by Leslie Kritzer), plus a talking head.

Its bluegrass score (by Robert Waldman and Alfred Uhry) ranges in tone from rambunctious to tender, as in the lullaby “Sleepy Man.” The chaotic storytelling offers unexpected insight into the freedoms found in role-playing and the cultural identity of the American South.

The production is directed with atmospheric flare and nonstop playfulness by Alex Timbers, whose past work includes “Peter and the Starcatcher” and “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” Timbers is also set to stage the upcoming Broadway adaptation of “Frozen.”

Pasquale, who has considerable musical theater chops, plays Lockhart with charm and sex appeal. As it happens, Pasquale recently played Billy Bigelow in an acclaimed Chicago production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Carousel.” Here’s hoping New York audiences will get to see that, too.

If you go

“The Robber Bridegroom” plays at the Laura Pels Theatre through May 29. 111 W. 46th St., roundabouttheatre.org.