Festival '90 : STAGE REVIEWS : OPEN FESTIVAL : '60s Singing Trio Limned in Sketchy 'Borderlines'

When you enter the theater to see Ben DeBaldo's musical, "Borderlines," you still haven't entered the theater. Inside Fairfax High School's big Main Stage, auditorium seats are empty. Instead, the crowd is on the stage itself, facing further upstage to a curtain.

Out come "The Wayfarers," an early '60s, three-woman group putting on a retrospective gig. They're supposed to be playing the Pantages, but "Borderlines" feels a lot closer to Fairfax High.

Ramona DuBarry, Tania Gonzalez and Tanya Smith sing with heartfelt conviction, but it's too much of a stretch to believe they're at, for example, the Supremes' level. Director DeBaldo keeps a light tone and humor (aided by Andrew Darrah Devore's double roles as talent agent and priest), at the cost of throwing light on the dark side of show biz.

Because the girls are out of East L.A., their rise to the top is a tad too easy. They also wouldn't have risen just on the basis of singing covers like "Let the Good Times Roll" and "Sincerely." There isn't an original tune in the show.

At 7850 Melrose Ave.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. $7; (213) 839-6862.

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