When Pigs Fly (aka Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly)

When-Pigs-FlyOriginal Off-Broadway Cast, 1997 (RCA) 2 Stars (2 / 5) The second of two revues that showcased the talents of outrĂ© costume designer Howard Crabtree was an evening of bright, largely gay humor. Though several of the songs by composer Dick Gallagher and lyricist-librettist Mark Waldrop are fun, the show’s real strength was visual, matching sketches to outrageously elaborate costume designs. A number called “Light in the Loafers” loses something when you don’t see dancers wearing electrified shoes; so does “Not All Man,” which was delivered onstage by David Pevsner done up as a centaur. A sketch featuring Stanley Bojarski as Carol Ann Knippel, the doyenne of a Midwest community theater, doesn’t slay on the recording the way it did live. Still, there are pleasures to be found here — many of them courtesy of Jay Rogers, who delivers a series of torch songs aimed at the right-wing ideologues Newt Gingrich, Strom Thurmond, and Rush Limbaugh. Rogers also gets the show’s best number: the touching, ruminative “Laughing Matters,” which only gains in poignancy when one knows that Crabtree died of AIDS shortly after this show opened. — David Barbour