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Where’s Charley?

When Where’s Charley?, Frank Loesser’s musicalization of the cross-dressing collegiate farce Charley’s Aunt, closed its New York run in 1950, its 792 performances made it the 10th longest-running musical in Broadway history. A few weeks later, Loesser opened Guys and Dolls, which made him the toast of Broadway for the next decade, after which How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying cemented his rep for all time. But because opening-night critics hadn’t been overly impressed with his earlier show’s songs, and star Ray Bolger’s talents ran more to hoofing than singing, no Broadway cast album of Where’s Charley was ever released. There’s a London cast recording, but who ever listens to those? Thus, the score, which includes the lilting “My Darling My Darling,” the bouncy “Make a Miracle,” and the classic sing-along “Once in Love With Amy,” will feel pretty fresh when given the KenCen’s concertized “Words & Music Series” treatment. As will Abe Burrows’ book, regarded as the show’s weakest link originally, but being yucked-up for this occasion by Ken (Crazy for You) Ludwig. The cast (pictured) is fresh, too. It includes Emily Loesser (far right, the composer’s daughter, last seen here in By Jeeves) and a raft of up-and-coming B’way talent, as well as TV’s Dick Van Patten (third from right). There are five performances only, so you’ll want to scurry. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday, Aug. 13 & 14; 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15; and 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. $35-50. (202) 467-4600. (Bob Mondello)