A snappy peppy jazz age musical – set almost entirely in zippy foxtrot tempo – which features a disproportionate number of classic songs (“You Do Something to Me,” “You’ve Got that Thing,” “Find Me a Primitive Man” and the remarkable ballad, “You Don’t Know Paree” – that sounds like Porter could have written it a decade later at least) and a book that’s suitably more like an extended comedy sketch. In every production I’ve seen, the characters “May” and “Violet,” two sexually-aggressive American tourists in search of primitive Frenchmen, and this is no exception, as Ashley Blanchet and Kirsty Cates do here, with “Find Me a Primitive Man” and “Tale of the Oyster,” respectively.
“The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter”
October 12-20, 2019
Ben Bagley, best remembered as an album producer, assembled this ambitious revue in the immediate aftermath of Porter’s death in 1964. He combed the songbook for obscurities like “I Introduced” and “Tomorrow” but also a few well-known classics like “Down in the Depths” and “Riding High” – and there’s a decided emphasis on the more overtly comic, full-cast numbers like “Farming.” There have been all kinds of Porter songbook shows in the last 50 years, so it’ll be worth seeing what the York does with the material.
October 26 – November 3, 2019
Diehard Broadway buffs are most looking forward to this one, a rare book show that’s rarely if ever been staged since 1940. (As opposed to Frenchmen, which I’ve actually seen twice before, from Musicals Tonight and Light Opera of Ohio.) Porter’s fourth of five shows with the great Ethel Merman cast La Merm as a brassy showgirl / diva with a heart of gold feted by American sales on a tropical island – sort of like a more lighthearted Rain / Miss Sadie Thompson. Expert Mermologist Klea Blackhurst is the logical choice to essay the role in the new production.
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