Cole Porter met the Capitol Steps at Source last night as the In Series premiered its highly entertaining musical review to a sold-out house of enthusiastic fans. Conceived, written, and directed by Steven Scott Mazzola and Greg Stevens, The Cole Porter Project: It’s All Right With Me is a show not to be missed!
Set in the present in various locations throughout the D.C. area, the fictionalized plot centers around a group of naïve but dedicated Cole Porter fans from Indiana who travel to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress to support the creation of a national holiday honoring their musical hero. The hilariously written and fast-paced script, full of witty innuendo and humorous references to life and politics that is well understood and appreciated by D.C. audiences, ties together 34 of the more than 1000 songs composed by Porter. Some of the songs included, “Love for Sale,” “It’s De-Lovely,” “It’s Too Darn Hot,” “You’re the Top,” “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” “The Gypsy In Me,” “From This Moment On,” and “Just One of Those Things,” are universally known and loved. Others, such as “In the Morning,” “No” and “Experiment” are less recognized but well chosen.
The high talent cast features Joseph Haughton, Randa Rouweyha, Tammy Roberts, Sarah Anne Sillers and Samual Keeler, with Kenneth Deryby, Jase Parker, Brian Shaw, and Tia Wortham. It is very refreshing to see this delightful cast of accomplished performers in action. All of them can sing, act, dance and move, and one even surprises the audience with versatile instrumental ability.
A small but wonderful jazz combo, consisting of pianists and co-musical directors Paul Leavitt and Frank Conlon (playing in alternating performances) and string bassist (Ephraim Wolfolk) accompanies and supports the singers straight through the show, and Leavitt’s well composed arrangements of Porter’s songs demand and showcase the exceptional vocal talents of the cast. Likewise, Angelisa Gillyard’s delightfully creative choreography is exceptional, often bringing the audience to both applause and laughter in appreciation of her humor and artistic prowess.
The design team is ably led by Klyph Stanford (lighting), Greg Stephens (set), and Donna Breslin (costumes). Stephens keeps the set simple to facilitate very fast transitions between songs, and consistently brings laughter from the audience by indicating location changes (Library of Congress, a Holiday Inn Express, Peru, Indiana, the Red Line Metro Platform & Train, 14th Street, a gala at the National Building Museum, and more) with simple poster board signs placed on an easel. Costume changes are constant in this show, and they are brilliantly designed by Breslin.
The Cole Porter Project: It’s All Right With Me is both delightful and de-lovely. Congratulations to In Series Artistic Director and Founder Carla Hüber and her team for bringing this multi-disciplinary and collaborative gem of music, art, and theater to fruition.
The Cole Porter Project: It’s All Right With Me is playing on Saturday, 3/1 at 8 pm, Sunday, 3/2 at 3 pm (matinee);Monday 3/3 at 7:30 pm;Friday, 3/7 at 8 pm;Saturday, 3/8 at 3 pm (matinee.) and 8 pm; and Sunday, 3/9 at 3 pm (matinee) – at Source -1835 14th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call the box office (202) 204-7763, or purchase them online.