Stone Street Theatre Cabaret: Porter Sophisticated and Bawdy

By: Sep. 24, 2006

Bryan Hutson and Sergio Garcia, the Proprietors of the Stone Street Theatre, have done something truly wonderful—they have brought Manhattan-style Cabaret to downtown Dallas.  On September 22, they presented Laura Ainsworth and Michael Gott in Cole Porter:Elegance & Decadence.  Top‑notch entertainers, inspired selection of songs from Mr. Porter's canon and the venue's intimacy (the Theatre seats approximately 90) made for a highly entertaining evening.

Miss Ainsworth is a fine singer with an outstanding range and genuine wit.  She delighted the audience with her rendition of such comic Porter numbers as "Experiment," "Tale of the Oyster" and "The Physician."Like any gifted comedienne who sings, she knew how to wring the last laugh out of every humorous lyric.  She slyly emphasized the Porter wit with a brazen gesture or a coy facial expression.

Miss Ainsworth also selected the songs for the entertainment.  Her achievement in this regard is worthy of special note.  Although the evening included such Porter standards such as "It's De-Lovely" and "You Do Something To Me," it also featured lesser known Porter tunes as well—such as the three comic numbers mentioned previously.  The diversion's encore was "Anything Goes"—however, it was sung with the original 1934 lyric which has references to Eleanor Roosevelt and Evalyn Walsh McLean.  Bravo, Miss Ainsworth, for sharing such little known treasures with us!

However, the stellar attraction of the evening proved to be Mr. Gott.  In a word, he is dazzling.  He plays the piano in a masterful fashion.  When he plays, the piano is not just a musical instrument—it is his way of communicating with the audience.  His musical artistry added romance, wit, and sophistication to the proceedings.  Mr. Gott is a superior vocalist as well.  His chilling rendition of "In the Still of the Night" left the audience breathless and yearning for more.

Whether playing, singing, or announcing the next song, Mr. Gott always had a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his eye.  It was soon clear that he had the audience in the palm of his hand.  He was even able to turn a slight memory lapse during "So in Love" from a liability to an asset.  Mr. Gott performed a set of lyrics he had penned for Porter's "Let's Do It."  They were a trifle racy, and in one or two instances might have offended.  However, he put them over with sly assurance and we were delighted.

My only regret with this sublime evening was that it was presented on September 22ndonly.  However, with the acclaim Miss Ainsworth and Mr. Gott received at the end of the show, it is inevitable that they team again.  It truly was magnificent entertainment.

For future events at the Stone Street Theatre, please select their site at the top of this article.

For more information on Laura Ainsworth and Michael Gott, please select their respective sites.

Photo Credit:  Pat Reeder


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