Cole Porter was one of the finest songwriters of the twentieth century. He wrote more than 800 songs, many of which are some of the most beloved songs in the American songbook (“Night and Day,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “I Get a Kick Out of You”). He also is the creator of some fabulous Broadway shows like Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes. This marvelous cabaret (directed by Stephen Gregory Smith and Laura Connors Hull) beautifully showcases almost 30 of these wonderful songs in Cole Porter: You’re the Top!
The conceit of this musical review is telling the fascinating story of the relationship between Cole and Linda Porter while interweaving in Cole Porter songs that mirror the event being described. Carolyn Cole and Sean Thompson do an incredible job portraying the Porters. They aptly capture the wit and comedy and melodrama of the Cole Porter melodies, including the delightful “You’re the Top” from Anything Goes, and “So in Love,” from Kiss Me Kate. Many of the Porter songs can be quite demanding, even operatic, and both Cole and Thompson rise to the occasion.
Some delightful choreography by Kara-Tameika Watkins also helps to keep things lively. Musical Director Alvin Smith and his fine band sound amazing and provide strong support to the performers. The elegant art deco set and costumes by Margie Jervis, as well as the crisp lighting by Paul Spiegelblatt, contribute to the sophistication conjured by the music.
Smith and Connors nicely balance the well-known Porter tunes (“Love for Sale,” “Let’s Do It, Lets Fall in Love”) with some that are more obscure though nonetheless terrific (including “Give Him the Oo-La-La” and “It Ain’t Etiquette”). As a result, you not only learn a lot of interesting facts about the Porters’ personal lives – but you also discover new Cole Porter ditties that you may never have heard before. One cannot help but walk away more impressed with the Cole Porter catalog than ever.
Song lovers from all over the DC area should rush to see this fantastic musical review.
Running Time: 75 minutes, with no intermission.
Cole Porter: You’re the Top! plays through October 28, 2012 at Creative Cauldron – ArtSpace Falls Church – 410 South Maple Avenue, in Falls Church, VA. For tickets call (571) 239-5288, or purchase them online.