Musical Theater Heritage begins the year with a newly written tribute to the musical genius of Cole Porter, one of America’s most celebrated Broadway composers, who contributed hundreds of songs to the American song book as well as the phenomenally successful Broadway shows, “Can-Can,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Anything Goes.”
George Harter, founder and executive director of Musical Theater Heritage follows the success of last season’s “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” with “An Evening with Cole Porter” after the success of last season’s show and requests for more similarly themed shows.
Audiences prepare because the salute features so many well-known songs as well as some obsure ones. Included in the show, just to set the mind spinning are such Cole Porter classics as: “You’re The Top,” “It’s De-Lovely,” “You’ve Got That Thing ,” “Let’s Do It,” “Night & Day,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare ,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “In The Still of the Night,” “Anything Goes,” “Just One of Those Things,” and even more.
MTH suggests fans, patrons, and enthusiasts get their pens out and start making plans for the show, “An Evening with Cole Porter” that opens March 3 and plays through March 13. The show is weitten by MTH Executive Director and Founder George Harter. According to information provided by MTH, the cast includes internationally famous tenor, Ben Gulley and Kansas City favorite Lauren Braton. The show also features Kansas City’s well-respected accompanist, Jeremy Watson and his dynamic keyboarding talent on the piano.
“Most of our American Songbook comes from music by the Jewish, Tin-Pan-Alley composers, who were inspired mostly by Yiddish folk songs, the new jazz musicians up in Harlem and—to some degree—the operetta of Europe,” Harter said. “Cole Porter, though didn’t take from any of these sources. He was wealthy from family money and traveled the world picking up bits from Pacific Island music (“Begin the Beguine”) or even from Islamic prayers heard in Morocco (“Night & Day”). This is why I think Cole Porter sounds so different from George Gershwin or Irving Berlin.”
Resulting from a horse-riding accident in 1937, Porter’s legs were broken, leaving him in constant pain there after. Harter said that even in spite of this he churned out some of the most beautiful song, still recorded and sung today by pop vocalists like Dianna Krall, Elvis Costello, and Audra McDonald, Harter said. They have recorded such Cole Porter classics as “You’re Sensational,” “Just One of Those Things,” “So In Love,” and “In The Still of The Night.”
Audiences who enjoyed “Bernstein’s Broadway” from MTH in 2014 and/or “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly”– the best of Lerner & Loewe last year; are guaranteed to enjoy and the wit & elegance of the Cole Porter Songbook including–22 of his best-loved songs with stories of his life and times, MTH said.
“An Evening with Cole Porter,” written and hosted by George Harter, is directed by Steven Eubank. The cast is: Lauren Braton, Ben Gulley, Licia Watson, Tyler Eisenreich Josh Atkins, Shon ruffin, and Elise Poehling. Musical accompaniment comes from the three-piece combo led by Jeremy Watson on the piano.
Performances will be presented Thursdays through Sundays, March 3-13 at the Musical Heritage Theater on the third floor of the Crown Center Shops in midtown, Kansas City, Missouri. Ticket prices begin at $17. More information on specific dates and times can be accessed through the box office at 816.221.6987 or via the MTH website.
“An Evening with Cole Porter” is written by Executive Director and MTH founder George Harter