Fall 2019 Musicals In Mufti Series "Celebrating Cole Porter" at the York Theater - New York City Article

Fall 2019 Musicals In Mufti Series "Celebrating Cole Porter" at the York Theater


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Fall 2019 Musicals In Mufti Series "Celebrating Cole Porter" at the York Theater

Oct 1, 2019

Fall 2019 Musicals In Mufti Series "Celebrating Cole Porter"
York Theatre Company
619 Lexington Ave, at E. 54th Street
Lower Level 2


“Fifty Million Frenchmen”
Through October 6

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.

“Panama Hattie”
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.

for more information and tickets, click here.

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)

SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)