Standing on stage in low-cut briefs and matching no-cuff socks, Nick Cearley was reminded that he and Lauren Molina had decided to strip down for their act in different times, different climes.
"We decided to be The Skivvies in summer. Maybe it should have been The Sweaters," he mused, noting their snow-covered welcome to City Theatre on the South Side.
For a little more than an hour Friday, the duo plus drummer Shannon Ford were a bit overexposed for the outside elements but got a warm welcome from Pittsburghers inside as they performed their act of original arrangements and themed mashups. They were joined on stage for three numbers by Hayley Nielsen, Bria Walker and "Mikey" Campayno, as Mr. Cearley kept calling the singer-actor, a co-star of NBC's "The Sound of Music Live!" Each guest performed medleys tailored to his or her talents and each got into the act, conforming to the dress code of lingerie and underwear.
There is an air of practiced informality about The Skivvies as they deliver mostly comedic pop-folk arrangements, connected by lighthearted banter. Each number seems to contain an element of musical surprise or a casual crudeness that's good for at least a chuckle.
Ms. Molina might suddenly hit notes not heard since Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You" while gracefully bowing the cello or smile warmly through a song with unprintable lyrics. Easygoing Mr. Cearley has a wide range on vocals and was apt to put down the mandolin or guitar at any moment in favor of a melodica or portable xylophone.
After The Skivvies' finale, I am happy to report that I now know the joys of boomwhackers and the thumb piano.
Songs follow themes rather than eras or genres. So The Skivvies' patriotic mashup includes snippets of "Surfin' USA," "American Woman" and "(I Like to Be in) America" among the seemingly never-ending lyric references.
Appearances by the Pittsburgh actors were spread throughout the hour. Ms. Nielsen, wearing an open shirt over her undergarments and acting tipsy from the start, sang what The Skivvies call an "alco-medley," framed by "Tequila." Ms. Walker pranced out in black lingerie and Steelers patches on her cheeks to "pump up the jam," while Mr. Campayno, in royal blue briefs, sunglasses and sneakers, got into the act with a flirty "call me" medley.
It was all in the name of good, risque fun, and it went by in a flash, so to speak. Whether it would have worked as well if everyone had their clothes on, who knows? Mr. Cearley and Ms. Molina entered clothed, and once they stripped down, the novelty wore off quickly, leaving the audience free to listen and laugh to the comedic arrangements and admire the duo's musical versatility.
The show will run longer as more guests appear on the program. For tonight's show at 8, Joshua Elijah Reese hits the stage, and at 10:30, the guy guests are joined by Nancy Anderson, Courtney Balan, Elizabeth Broadhurst and Hannah Shankman of Pittsburgh Public Theater's "Company."
Sharon Eberson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1960. Twitter: SEberson_pg.