Theater review: ‘What’s It All About? Bacharach Remimagined’ — 2 stars

What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

Just as recent episodes of the television series "Glee" have revolved around the songbooks of the Beatles, Billy Joel and Lady Gaga, "What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined" — Kyle Riabko’s hipster chic revue of Burt Bacharach hits at New York Theatre Workshop — looks and sounds like a "Glee"-style tribute to Bacharach.

Riabko, who appeared on Broadway in "Spring Awakening" and "Hair" but is better known as a musician who has opened for John Mayer and Maroon 5, conceived and musically arranged the revue. In a polite but awkward introduction, he explains to the audience that he wanted to interpret Bacharach’s pop hits for his generation.

The 90-minute show consists of Riabko and six other band members singing and playing music for three dozen songs, including "Anyone Who Had a Heart," "Walk On By," "San Jose," "What’s New Pussycat?" and "Say a Little Prayer," many of which are offered in mash-up form.

As if that wasn’t enough work for the seven-member band, after the show, they stand outside the theater as the audience is exiting and offer an encore of "Raindrops."

Riabko’s light rock, acoustic guitar-based arrangements are pleasant, and the performers look attractive in their jeans and vintage shirts and offer a sincere, soulful quality. The set design of rugs, couches and lamps adds a cozy feel.

Nevertheless, the show, as directed by Steven Hoggett, is more of a generic cover band tribute than a piece of musical theater. With song after song offered in a similar manner and with little movement, it is a visual bore and a homogenized musical mush.