Sultry sisters may be the titular draw in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, but the show has generally proved to be an equally sharp showcase for brothers. The B’way original boasted not just the Bros. Ellington (Duke’s music played onstage by Mercer’s big band) but also the Bros. Hines (hoofer Maurice stepping into original star Gregory’s tap shoes mid-run when Hollywood beckoned). So it seems only right that the biggest cheers at Arena Stage’s U Street revival should be for the Bros. Manzari—engagingly shaggy 15-yr-old Leo and closer-cropped 17-yr-old John—who are nightly punishing the Lincoln Theater floorboards with some of the most explosively percussive rat-a-tat-tatting this side of a machine gun. Sensationally talented D.C. high-schoolers who stop the show cold whenever they’re front and center, these two could be bottled and sold as theatrical pick-me-ups. The show that marks their professional debut is an agreeable Broadway-style revue from an era when composer-samplers—Eubie, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Smokey Joe’s Café—were all the rage. Ladies was the grandest of them—an opulent spectacle that overcame the firing of two directors, the junking of two scripts, and the firing and rehiring of its leading man during its D.C. tryout, all on the way to a two-year run on Broadway. Charles Randolph-Wright’s multimedia revival, although something less than inspired, has plenty of smart touches scattered here and there amongst the Ellingtoniana. When, on a stagewide scrim he conjures a night outside the Lincoln Theater some eight decades ago, then has the on-film cast dance from a street once known as D.C.’s “Black Broadway” right onto a stage that the Ellington bands actually played on occasion, there’s a palpable sense of history. It dissipates pretty quickly, alas, amid annoyingly metallic amplification and consistently strident renditions of tunes that on Broadway were often allowed to purr as smokily as supper-club numbers but that here must always pin the crowd’s ears back. With a decently hot onstage band setting the pace, Arena’s Sophisticated Ladies is centered not on its ladies but on Maurice Hines, an amiable entertainer who seems comfortably in his element even if he’s not a particularly galvanizing headliner. Hines has choreographed the big dance routines competently but routinely—lots of crowd-pleasing, hands-in-the-air tapping, and some dance-hall specialties. His best solo number recycles an amusing bit his brother did in Eubie (I suppose we should call it an homage) in which he forestalls a mid-song ovation—“not yet, not yet,…I’ll tell you when”—while tapping up a storm. The opening night crowd indulged him mostly because he had the good sense to do it before the Manzani brothers erupted into a second-act tap-duel. Once they’d cut loose, nothing on earth was gonna stop the applause.