Posted in Annie Get Your Gun, Cole Porter, Mary Martin, Noel Coward, Oklahoma, Peter Pan, Rodgers and Hammerstein, The York Theatre Company, TV

Remembering Peter Pan

Mary Martin immortalized the boy who wouldn’t grow up when her Peter Pan flew across television screens in a televised broadcast in 1955, 1956 and 1960 of her Broadway hit.

Emily Skinner, Lynne Halliday, and Cameron Adams in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. The cast also features Jason Graae with Bob Renino on bass and Perry Cavari on drums. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

“Inventing Mary Martin,” a world premiere conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, is a musical revue about the titular star’s career.  The York Theatre production, through May 25th also touches lightly on her life. Mary Martin went from a small Texas town to Hollywood and on to Broadway and London stages. She was the toast of the town in any number of hits. 
Cameron Adams and Jason Graae in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. The cast also features Lynne Halliday and Emily Skinner with Bob Renino on bass and Perry Cavari on drums. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.


Of course, she also had her share of misses, most famously in passing on the musical which came to be named “Oklahoma.”  
Emily Skinner, Lynne Halliday, Cameron Adams and Jason Graae in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

The talented cast recreating some of the songs along Mary Martin’s path include Cameron Adams, who sings and taps to perfection, Jason Graae as host and narrator, Lynne Halliday, and Emily Skinner. The latter is tasked with singing “Swatting the fly,” the big number from the show Martin, and her husband Richard Halliday, chose for her instead of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic show. 
Emily Skinner in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. The cast also features Cameron Adams, Jason Graae, and Lynne Halliday with Bob Renino on bass and Perry Cavari on drums. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

The musical arrangements, by David Krane, of classic tunes by the likes of Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and so forth, are delivered by an  off-stage trio, led by Lawrence Goldberg on the piano, with Perry Cavari on percussion and Bob Renino on bass. 

“Inventing Mary Martin” is a tuneful and well-sung remembrance of the much-awarded star that informs rather than engages. 

For more information about “Inventing Mary Martin,” and the York Theatre Company, please visit  http://www.yorktheatre.org.
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Posted in April in Paris, Cole Porter, Django Reinhardt, jazz, Josephine Baker, Le Jazz Hot, Linda Porter, Paris Blues, Sidney Bichet, Stevie Holland, The Anderson Twins

Paris Swings

Peter Anderson (clarinet), Will Anderson (sax),
Luc Decker (drums), Clovis Nicolas (bass), and
Alex Wintz (guitar) in “Le Jazz Hot How The
French Saved Jazz”
at 59E59 Theaters.
Photo by Eileen O’Donnell
“Love, Linda- The Life of Mrs.
Cole Porter,”
at The York
Theatre Company. Photos by
Carol Rosegg.

It’s no canard that the French took to American jazz like a duck to water.

Starting in the 1920’s, American musicians fled to the receptive shores of the Seine (and the Riviera) to enjoy a lively and welcoming cabaret scene. 
Among those were Les Cole Porters, as well as ex-pats Josephine Baker and Sidney Bichet. Bud Powell, Kenny Clark and Dizzy Gillespie felt right at home in France. Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong also made appearances before an admiring public.
Stevie Holland’s and Gary William Friedman’s “Love, Linda- The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter,” premiering at The York Theatre Company through January 5th, tells the story of Cole Porter as husband. Cole and Linda Porter (Stevie Holland) set up house in one of the fashionable arrondissments and entertained lavishly, and enjpyed the cabaret life of the city.  “Love, Linda” documents in story and with songs by Cole Porter (arranged for “Love, Linda…” by Friedman) their life from Europe and back to the States. Cole Porter wrote music for revues, but met his first success wth the Broadway show “Paris,” from which the hit “Let’s Do It/Let’s Fall In Love” emerged.
Stevie Holland is Linda Porter in “Love, Linda…” Sets by James Morgan, costumes by Pamela Dennis. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
“Love, Linda…” covers a lot more ground than just the Porters’ sojourn in France. Linda Lee Thomas  was Cole’s senior  by nearly a decade, and married at the time they met. While aware of his homosexuality, she was drawn to his talent and gentleness, a contrast to her first husband’s brutality. Their marriage was more thna just one of convenience. Linda nurtured Cole’s art. 
“The appreciation of beauty,” Linda quotes her mother as saying, “is taste. The creation of  beauty is art.”
Holland is supported by music director Christopher McGovern on piano, Alex Wyatt on drums, and Danny Weller on bass. Richard Maltby, Jr. helms Linda’s story, which is cogently told in story and music. 
Peter and Will Anderson lead their “Le Jazz Hot” quintet. Photo by Eileen O’Donnell
“Le Jazz Hot- How The French Saved Jazz,” at 59E59 Theater’s E-Cafe through December 29th, takes an overview of Paris and its jazz scene from the years when Josephine Baker awed (and shocked) the world to the 50’s and 60’s, when Kenny Clarke and Bud Powell were regulars in the boites.

Peter and Will Anderson (sax, clarinets, flute) with Alex Wintz on guitar, Luc Decker on drums, and Clovis Nicolas on bass. (At other performances, you might encounter guitarist Randy Napoleon, bassist Neal Miner and drummer Phil Stewart on the small stage.) The apex of their virtuosity is in the performance of Duke Ellington’s “Paris Blues.” “La Vie en Rose” is pleasantly familiar while Django Reinhardt’s “Manoir de Mes Reves” is hauntingly unfamiliar.

Cabaret mixed with informative film clips makes “Le Jazz Hot” an amiable entertainment.

For more information about “Love, Linda…,” visit http://www.lovelindathemusical.com/. To learn more about “Le Jazz Hot,” please visit 59e59.org.