Mickey Rooney plays Mickey Moran a young second generation vaudeville performer who is trying to find success as an entertainer by making a show with the second generation performers. Rooney's character here is the type that he played many times in his younger years. The musical performer of the young man who has the dream to be a big success. His character is not exactly that complicated of a person but then again he hardly needs to be.
Rooney just plays Moran in the way that he should be played which is with a whole lot of energy. Rooney really does not stop moving in this performance, and does infuse the right type of energy into the role. He certainly never seems to be bored while playing the part, and that does work well for his character. He is always singing, moving or doing something, with Moran, which seems to say that Rooney certainly is working to making his performance as enjoyable as possible. He certainly tries everything in this performance to be entertaining, whether it is singing, dancing, or even trying for comedy with imitations such as when he imitates Co-Nominee Clark Gable.
Rooney I have to give credit here for always keeping a passion in his performance for every scene. He never slows down in this performance. He is always trying for something, I must say he does not always succeed, but in a film like that I am glad he is trying to put that sort of energy into the mix. He never ever falls completely flat, nor does he become really annoying, which he certainly could have become. His performance certainly does succeed in a functional sort of way, in that the performance is not a truly great performance, as either a musical/comedy performance, or as a dramatic performance after all the most dramatic scene he has is his impassioned speech about wanting to be an entertainer, but for the film, this performance could not really be better. It is a performance for clear entertainment purposes, and succeeds on that level fairly well, and it simply serves its function as it should.