Quality Hill Playhouse Pays Tribute Cole Porter and Noel Coward with IT'S DELOVELY

Quality Hill Playhouse Pays Tribute Cole Porter and Noel Coward with IT'S DELOVELY

Lyrics take center stage at Quality Hill Playhouse in March as the company pays tribute to two songwriters known for their internal rhymes and worldly wit in the original cabaret revue IT'S DELOVELY: THE WIT OF Cole Porter AND NOËL COWARD, opening March 2.

The revue's first act will be devoted to the work of American songwriter Cole Porter, featuring songs from his hit musicals ANYTHING GOES ("You're the Top," "It's De-Lovely"), PARIS ("Let's Misbehave"), and KISS ME, KATE ("Another Op'nin, Another Show"), as well as novelty songs from as early as 1913 ("A Football King"), songs he wrote for film ("Use Your Imagination," "Easy to Love"), and hilarious but seldom-heard pieces ("Make a Date with a Great Psychoanalyst," "Find Me a Primitive Man"). The second act turns to the brilliance of British-born Noël Coward, including songs well-known to Coward fans ("I Went to a Marvelous Party," "Mad About the Boy," "If Love Were All") and some lesser-known gems ("This Is the End of the News," "Uncle Harry," "Why Do the Wrong People Travel?"). Kansas City actor-singers Lauren Bradshaw, Katie Karel, and Lindsey McKee are tasked with the challenge of mastering the wordy-albeit-delightful tunes, under the watchful guidance of director, pianist, and emcee J. Kent Barnhart.

IT'S DELOVELY runs through March 31 at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Single tickets are $38, with discounts for students, seniors, and groups. Pro-rate season tickets are $99 each for the three productions remaining through July 2018. For tickets, call 816-421-1700. Visit www.QualityHillPlayhouse.com for more information or to purchase tickets online.

Cole Porter is arguably one of the greatest contributors to the Great American Songbook and the only member of Tin Pan Alley to write both music and lyrics for his songs. Porter's musical abilities started at a young age; by the age of ten he had already written his first operetta. His initial success with the song "Old-Fashioned Garden" from the 1919 musical revue HITCHY-KOO was followed by a series of Broadway flops, until 1928 when he wrote his first hit musical, PARIS. His Broadway successes continued (FIFTY MILLION FRENCHMEN, ANYTHING GOES, RED HOT AND BLUE), and he subsequently went to Hollywood to conquer film. His movies and recordings featured stars the likes of Fred Astaire, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Roy Rogers, Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. After a battle with severe depression, he returned to Broadway in 1948 with what may be his biggest hit, KISS ME, KATE, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist, and the show was awarded the first ever Tony for Best Musical.

Noël Coward was an English playwright, actor, and composer born in 1899 and best known for his sophistication and razor-sharp wit. He published more than 50 plays, many of which are popular still today, including Tony award-winning Broadway revivals as recent as 2017 (PRESENT LAUGHTER), 2009 (BLITHE SPIRIT), and 2002 (PRIVATE LIVES). A man of many talents, he composed hundreds of songs and more than a dozen musical theatre works, including operettas and revues. In the 1950s, and in his 50s, he parlayed his popularity into a successful cabaret act, including an engagement in Las Vegas in 1955 which was recorded live and subsequently earned him a contract with CBS for three television specials. A renaissance man, his successes continued into the 1960s and 70s in myriad forms, including film actor, stage actor, stage director, and playwright (both new works and revivals). Coward was knighted in 1970 as recognition of his contributions to British society and culture.

Lauren Bradshaw is making her QHP debut with IT'S DELOVELY. Bradshaw cultivated her love of music in Kansas City as a student at UMKC and a performer in the choral ensembles Kansas City Singers and Kansas City Women's Chorus. She will return to the Playhouse in June for SINATRA'S SONGWRITER. Katie Karel returns for her second production at QHP, having made her debut in 2016 in SING OUT, SISTER! An audience favorite, Karel has been seen in numerous local productions (The New Theatre, Coterie Theatre, Musical Theater Heritage, Unicorn Theatre), as well as productions at regional theatres (North Coast Rep, New Victory, Okoboji Summer Theatre). Lindsey McKee has been associated with Quality Hill Playhouse for more than 20 years. Her first concert with J. Kent Barnhart was GREAT DUETS OF MUSICAL THEATRE, followed by numerous shows since then, most recently last season's CHRISTMAS IN SONG. Mrs. McKee was named one of six top sopranos in the 2017 American Prize in Voice award (professional division).

J. Kent Barnhart founded the producing company Quality Hill Productions in 1995 and secured the lease on Quality Hill Playhouse in the same year. The company regularly produces six cabaret revues and off-Broadway musicals each year, with a season running from September through July. The theatre has seven rows and seats 153, providing one of the most intimate theatre experiences in Kansas City.

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