Twenty years later (and after Intermission), the characters have grown but the society hasn't seemed to change. The play exists in a time out of time. Aside from one joke about the economic woes of modern-day Greece, it's a fantasy universe where people eventually see the light, everything works out in the end, and there's no place like home. Whitney Brown as 40-year-old Sophia has some excellent comedic moments, Andrew Lidestri is crowd-pleasingly funny as a bloated older Manos, and Kristofer Holz, in fine voice, does excellent work as the older Costa, now a mild-mannered Mayor, still trying to bring the island prosperity through olive breeding. The supporting cast supplies a number of amusing turns too.
But the primary key to the show's success is the music, by the late Hollywood composer Nicholas Carras and musical director/pianist Elise Morris. A harmonious mix of light-modern staccato rhythms, big Broadway-style harmonies, and Mediterranean flavors, it is well matched by concise, clever lyrics; both provide food for the brain as well as the soul. Carras's daughter Mari, who created the show and co-wrote the book and lyrics, deserves kudos for bringing all this fine talent together.
The action moves along quickly, surmounting what appeared to be a few slight opening-weekend jitters. Energetically and economically directed by Sam Viverito, with effective choreography by Greek folk dance expert Anthoula Katsimatides, OPA! The Musical runs Friday-Sunday through Nov. 21 at the Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent St., Astoria, Queens, New York.