Through July 18|
LOVE, LINDA: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter Musicalfare Theatre/Daemen College.
By Augustine Warner
Every marriage is a mystery and the divorce rate suggests often a mystery to its partners.
The marriage of Cole Porter and Linda Lee Thomas ranks among the most mysterious.
She was a Southern belle married to an actively gay man, a toast of Paris, Broadway and Hollywood as the writer of some of the greatest musical Broadway shows and Hollywood movies.
Can you think of show business and love without songs like “I Love Paris,” “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and “Night and Day.”
“Night and Day” is also the name of a movie about straight Cole Porter and a very fictionalized personal and professional life, with Cary Grant as Porter, a mélange which still makes movie fans laugh.
“Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter,” is a relatively short one-woman show built around the wife in this…different…marriage.
Debbie Pappas mixes telling the story of Linda’s life, both her violent first marriage and her long life with the younger Cole Porter, mixing with the music and the musical geniuses of the time and the men he was involved with.
In the middle of the marriage and the show, Cole Porter starts to move away from the bargain of his marriage and spend all of his time with the young men of Hollywood.
Linda walks, at least for a while.
Then, there is the music, from his early days at Yale, his life in Paris and Venice and gathering recognition as a genius and being a rarity in the musicals world, writing the words and the music.
It was a career of unusual length, from Yale when his first music was in a Broadway show to his last music, a 1958 TV show.
He came from wealth and made far more, living the great life, palazzos in Venice, palatial spreads in Paris and New York and Hollywood palaces.
Porter left behind great shows, still on stages today, shows like Anything Goes through “Kiss Me, Kate,” a show you will never see on stage again, “Can-Can” and “High Society.”
Pappas’ Linda takes us through that long history, “So in Love,” “Miss Otis Regrets,” “In the Still of the Night,” “Love for Sale” and “Wunderbar.”
Under the direction of husband, Norm Sham, Pappas delivers a wonderful performance, enhanced by Chris Cavanagh’s Art Deco set.
It’s a must-see show, even in a time when there aren’t many shows to see.
It would also be a chance for local musical impresarios like MusicalFare’s Randy Kramer to think about some of those shows in some kind of concert version, “Can-Can,” “Anything Goes” or “High Society.”
Not only do these shows have great stories and music, they also have great roles for performers and great opportunities for musicians, designers and directors.
They also have that Porter panache.
And, remember “When A Woman’s In Love.”
See “Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter.”
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