Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cole Porter Series part 2

Anything Goes. Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter. Original book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse. 1934 Broadway.

High Society. (1956 Film) Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter. Screenplay by John Patrick. Based on The Philadelphia Story by John Barry.

High Society. (1998 Broadway). Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter. Additional Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. Book by Arthur Kopit.

Poor Hope and Tracy. Their engaged to unsuitable spouses. The supporting cast must unite to reconnect them with their stalkers exes for true happiness.

The leading lady in Anything Goes is Reno Sweeney. She loves Billy but will devote her time to seducing Hopes fiance and setting her up with Billy. But the plot doesn't really matter. It's all an excuse for Ethel Merman (and subsequent divas) to belt some of Cole Porter's best tunes.

Tracy was the lead in Philadelphia Story. Katherine Hepburn commissioned the play, bought the film rights and saved her struggling career. Hepburn often played strong women who needed to be "tamed." She brought such strength to her roles that her leading men never really cowed her. High Society's Tracy is less successful. The film shifted the focus to her suitors, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Grace Kelly was not a singer and she lacked Hepburn's fire. The Broadway version gave Melissa Errico's Tracy more music but the trunk songs never felt right for her character. Critics recommended that audiences stick with the Hepburn film.

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