dream a little dream: the nearly true story of the mamas and the papas by Denny Doherty and Paul Ledoux, with Doherty, directed by Ledoux. Presented by Dream Productions at the Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles West). Runs to September 1, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday 2 pm. $55-$65, stu/srs discounts. 416-872-1111. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
california dreamin'? californiaDyin' is more like it. Dream A Little Dream: The Nearly True Story Of The Mamas And The Papas is so bad, it's entertaining in a morbid way.
Using high-school-worthy slides, a couple of clichéd symbols, some nuggets of gossip and an underused if pleasant-sounding band, original Papa Denny Doherty and co-writer/director Paul Ledoux have put together a strange tribute to a moderately influential 1960s band.
Doherty paces the stage holding a mike, mouthing anecdotes about the group that are as amusing as those told by your tipsy uncle at an open bar. Band member Doris Mason, who bears a slight resemblance to Cass Elliot, occasionally joins him in singing. And occasionally the songs allude to something that's happening in the jumbled narrative. But there's no drama in the script, and Doherty makes no effort to interact with the band, who hide behind a scrim.
And the songs? Doherty's added a couple of original ditties that put to music what he's just told us minutes before. The show's only power comes from recreations of a handful of familiar M&Ps songs. For what it's worth, the harmonies sound authentic.