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There was a time when a cappella was one of music’s best-kept secrets. Relatively few people were aware of just how sophisticated the genre had become or how many sounds the best a cappella singers could draw on: not just standard notes, but vocal percussion, orchestral imitation and more.

But groups like Rockapella and Boyz II Men broke through into the mainstream, and then in 2009 NBC introduced “The Sing-Off,” a reality competition featuring a cappella groups. That exposure costs “Voca People,” a wacky new stage show at the Westside Theater featuring eight a cappellaing space aliens, the element of surprise. Probably not many people in the audience will be startled at how good much of this music sounds. So a barely-there plot and some audience-participation bits have to carry more of the entertainment burden than they should. The result: You leave the theater feeling entertained yet a little deprived as well.

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