“Purlie”: Sheldon Epps, artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, receives the award for breaking the rules of commercial production by reviving this mostly forgotten musical satire about civil rights. The show, based on a play, “Purlie Victorious,” written by the late actor and activist Ossie Davis, is absurdly out of date but fascinates with its purposeful use of racial stereotypes, and a stellar supporting cast makes them unexpectedly enjoyable to watch. Gary Geld’s score -- a mix of gospel, pop and R&B; out of the ‘70s -- evokes nostalgia more often than power, although it has its moments, and musical director Ronald “Rahn” Coleman keeps it lively.
-- Steven Oxman
Ends Sunday at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. (626) 356-7529.