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Paul Blake recently stepped down as executive producer of the St. louis Muny after 22 seasons and 154 full-scale productions. at The Muny he produced, directed and wrote the world premieres of Sleeping beauty with songs by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and P.G. Wodehouse, Three Coins in the fountain with songs by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Roman Holiday with songs by Cole Porter, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s with songs by Johnny Mercer. Blake has produced national tours of Words and Music with the late Sammy Cahn, an Evening with Jerry Herman starring Jerry Herman, She Loves Me with Pam Dawber and Joel Higgins, and The King and I with Shirley Jones. His regional work includes the award-winning Diamond Lil for San francisco’s A.C.T. as well as Barefoot in the Park starring Shaun Cassidy and Julia Duffy and Mass Appeal with John Travolta and Charles Durning.

Cole Porter was born to a wealthy family in Indiana who wanted him to become a lawyer, but he showed an early talent for music that flourished when he switched from Harvard Law School to Harvard’s Music Department. His first success on broadway was the 1928 musical Paris featuring the well-known songs “Let’s Misbehave” and “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love.” His music and lyrics soon became famous and he was courted by both Broadway and Hollywood. He wrote the hit shows Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate, which won the Tony award for Best Musical. His film scores included Born to Dance and You’ll Never Get Rich among others. A 1937 horse riding accident crushed both his legs so badly that doctors wanted to amputate but Porter and his wife refused. Pain from that accident stayed with him for the rest of his life but he continued to work and produce hits. 

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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