ON STAGE of New York theater openings
An occasional update
* Mort Sahl's America
(Theatre Four): This legendary political comedian and satirist is performing his one-man show Off-Broadway, his first extended New York appearance in years. He's still a bright and convivial presence, and his relaxed conversational style is a relief after years of the all-out verbal-assault style popular with comedians. But Sahl seems locked in a time warp. Two of his extended routines revolve around the Warren Commission Report on the Kennedy assassination, and his own experiences working as a script doctor on Robert Redford's 1980 movie, ``Ordinary People.'' And there are more jokes about Reagan and Bush than about Clinton. Sahl, who pioneered the use of topical political issues in stand-up, needs to spend more time reading the current newspaper he carries with him onstage.
* Fallen Angel (Circle in the Square Theatre): A new rock musical written by Billy Boesky (the son of convicted financier Ivan Boesky) concerning the travails of a songwriter and leader of a rock band who must deal with such problems as: his lead singer leaving the group for a record contract; his relationship with his father, who is in prison; and a skin rash. Intermixed with the skimpy plot are 10 original rock songs played by an onstage band, fronted by real-life rock singer Corey Glover.
* Amphigorey: A Musicale (Perry Street Theatre): A musical revue (previously presented at the American Music Festival in Philadelphia and the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.) written, designed, and adapted to the stage by that specialist of the macabre, author and illustrator Edward Gorey. The text consists of 15 of his stories (several previously unpublished) set to a musical score by Peter Golub that sounds like a combination of British music hall and operetta, with a barbershop quartet thrown in for good measure. The 10-member cast has mastered the relentlessly stylized movement well, but this precious exercise is notable more for Gorey's elegant scenic designs than for the text.