Chris Willman
April 11, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A musical about a tortured mother who advances her kid by any means necessary: Mask is kinda like Gypsy, but with facial deformities. The 1985 movie, with its malformed teen-boy hero, turns out to be surprisingly rich material for a tuner. But oh, those tunes. The only respite from Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s numbingly hyper-inspirational power ballads comes when they’re writing ”kick-ass chrome crusade” anthems for the motorcycle-gang chorus. Shamelessness is redefined when the doomed lad bikes and belts his way into heaven at show’s end. But Michelle Duffy keeps things rocking as the meth-addicted biker mom we all wish we’d had. (Tickets: 626-356-7529 or pasadenaplayhouse.org) C

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