York Theatre Co's Musicals in Mufti to Tribute Cole Porter
Celebrating the legendary Cole Porter, The York Theatre Company launches their 50th Anniversary Celebration with the 2019 Fall Musicals in Mufti series featuring three shows which highlight the genius of the legendary Cole Porter through his music and lyrics: Fifty Million Frenchmen (September 28 - October 6, 2019), The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter (October 12 -20, 2019), and Panama Hattie (October 26 - November 3, 2019) at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue).
These musical theatre gems, performed in a simply-staged, book-in-hand concert format, are part of the Muftis' twenty-sixth historic year of presenting shows from the past that deserve a second look. Mufti means "in street clothes, without the trappings associated with a full production."
York's Producing Artistic Director James Morgan had this to say about the series, "Cole Porter was a true New York sophisticate, providing delectable music and lyrics for countless captivating shows from the 1920s into the 1960s. No one's songs better capture the cosmopolitan spirit of the period. To be able to bring his musical brilliance to The York stage for our 50th Anniversary celebration seems a perfect choice."
Opening the Fall 2019 Series is Fifty Million Frenchmen with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Herbert Fields, adapted by Tommy Krasker and Evans Haile. The year is 1929, the month is June. It's the season when all the Americans invade Paris-and all the Parisians leave town. This classic boy-meets-girl musical set in the city of love introduced the world to such memorable Cole Porter favorites as "You Do Something to Me," "You've Got That Thing," and "The Tale of the Oyster." Originally opening on Broadway in 1929, Fifty Million Frenchmen was one of Porter's earliest hits and a precursor to the success that was yet to come. Irving Berlin was such a fan that he took out an advertisement calling Fifty Million Frenchmen "the best musical comedy I have seen in years!" The York is delighted to kick off its Cole Porter Mufti celebration with this show, in the revised version created by Tommy Krasker and Evans Haile for a 1991 concert presentation, emphasizing its remarkable score. Haile, The York's Executive Director, will also be Music Director, and the production will be directed by Hans Friedrichs. Performances begin Saturday afternoon, September 28, 2019 and continue for 11 performances only through October 6, 2019. Opening Night will be Sunday evening, September 29, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
The second show in the series is The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter, originally created and directed by Ben Bagley. The irreverent musical journey that is The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter, originally conceived by Ben Bagley in 1965, travels the globe through an array of gems from the vast Porter canon, both familiar and forgotten. The "world" under scrutiny is that between 1919 and 1945 when, indeed, some considerable declining and falling went on. Unfortunately (but fortunately for us), it's just as relevant now as it was over fifty years ago-"times have changed, and we've often rewound the clock," as Porter wrote- and now we're rewinding it again. The New York Times, in its original review, said the revue "relishes Cole Porter, feasting on his lively and lilting tunes, tunes that are so marked by the Porter dash and swagger that they are immediately recognizable even though one may never have heard them before." In times of great turmoil, Porter created a world of his own through his songs and made ours richer in the process. Pamela Hunt, (Jerry's Girls, Berlin to Broadway) directs. Performances begin Saturday afternoon, October 12, 2019 and continue for 11 performances only through October 20, 2019. Opening Night will be Sunday evening, October 13, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Closing out the 2019 Fall Mufti series is the 1940's hit musical Panama Hattie, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva. Cole Porter and Ethel Merman teamed up for their fourth hit with 1940's Panama Hattie, in which a brassy nightclub owner must bid for the approval of her fiancé's family-a task only made more complicated when she discovers a plan to blow up the Panama Canal. With a raucous book about sailors and singers in the Panama Canal Zone and a snappy Porter score that includes "Let's Be Buddies," "I've Still Got My Health," and "Make It Another Old-Fashioned, Please," Panama Hattie was a smash in its day, but is now mostly known for its distinctly unfaithful film adaptation. In response to the original production, Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times stated, "if the Navy ever hears about Panama Hattie, it will be hard to keep the fleet in the Pacific. As far as that goes, it is going to be hard to keep New Yorkers at home in the evenings this Winter." Klea Blackhurst returns to The York to star in the title role, having previously paid tribute to Merman in the Mufti presentation of Happy Hunting and in her acclaimed solo show Everything the Traffic Will Allow. Michael Montel (Dear World, A Time For Singing) directs. Performances are set to begin Saturday afternoon, October 26, 2019 and continue for 11 performances only through November 3, 2019. Opening Night will be Sunday evening, October 27, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Musicals in Mufti will play the following 11-performance schedule-First Week: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 & 7:00 p.m.; Second Week: Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., Thursday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
For tickets and additional information, please visit www.yorktheatre.org