Stagebeat

Cole: The Music and Life of Cole Porter

 Cole: The Music and Life of Cole Porter is an evening of more than 35 hits from this classic tunesmith, whose popular melodies such as "Night and Day," "You Do Something to Me," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Love for Sale," and more were heard in countless musicals and films including Kiss Me Kate, The Gay Divorcee, Anything Goes, and others from 1916 until 1958. This lyricist and composer's life is illustrated in poetic narration by various nameless characters and shuffled between a mix of songs and an occasional dance number by a three piece band. The cramped staging and lack of plot and props stifle the action. When props are used, as in the cute "Be a Clown" (Erin Romero), "De-Lovely," (Justin Barnette and Anna K. Demoranville), and the feisty "Let's Misbehave" (Christopher George Patterson and Shelese Franklin), the show brightens. Otherwise, it's less of a play and more an evening of less-than-awe-inspiring song. Kristin Mellan shines, showing emotion in every piece, especially in "Love for Sale" and "Make it Another Old Fashioned Please." Erin Romero's best moment is when she lies across the piano, legs in the air, crooning a humorous "The Laziest Gal in Town." Barnette and Mark K. Harmon do a nice shtick in "Brush Up on Your Shakespeare." The play's prose and costumes are a sneak peek into the golden era of the '20's and beyond, but, unfortunately, most of the juicier details of Porter's life story, like his gay lifestyle and "business" marriage to a wealthy woman, were lost in the shuffle (for a glimpse of those, see the soon-to-be-released movie De-Lovely). Yet, the evening is a musical trip down memory lane for those old enough to go back that far. (Through Aug. 8, at the Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs. 954-344-7765) -- Rachel Galvin
 
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