By Christopher Arnott
11:38 AM EST, January 21, 2013
I was at the Saturday afternoon performance of a live concert version of the newly restored original score of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate.
The biggest attention Saturday’s performances got was when playwright/actor Christopher Durang fell during his big number, hurt himself, and lay onstage for a quarter-hour while emergency assistance was summoned.
My seat was about 20 feet from the stage. My blow-by-blow account of the accident is posted at my New Haven Theater Jerk site, here.
My lengthy appreciation of the concert itself—a fast-paced, brassy, jazzy rendition which reminded you that old-school musicals once really rocked—is here.
The show featured an all-star, all-Yale cast. The mix of alums and current undergrads included European musical theater star Ethan Freeman (Yale class of ’81), Bryce Pinkham (Yale School of Drama class of 2008) of the recent Ghost musical on Broadway, Sari Gruber (Yake class of 1993), Lauren Worsham (class of 2005), Geoffrey Owens (the guy who played Elvin on The Cosby Show, Yale class of 1983), Bill Kux (School of Drama, ’83), Asa Somers (Yale College ’91), Johnson Flucker (Yale College ’80) and a slew of students from various performance disciplines and a capella singing groups.
Most exciting to Advocate readers, perhaps, would be the casting of the sardonic Durang and the saucy Avenue Q/Book of Mormon co-creator Robert Lopez as the two gangsters who sing “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” The casting hit all the bases from classically styled to contemporarily sassy.
The center of the whole deal was conductor/scholar David Charles Abell, who did considerable detective work digging up the earliest versions of the Kiss Me, Kate score. Abell (Yale class of 1981) will soon be publishing a “critical edition” of the score (an honor usually reserved for operas). The Yale performance, which Abell conducted with a beaming smile on his face, was the reconstructed work’s debut.
Kiss Me, Kate In Concert was part of a projected year-long tribute to composer Cole Porter, who graduated from Yale a century ago this year. Other “Cole Porter ‘13—100 Years of Cole Porter at Yale” events are apparently being planned, though none appear to have publicly announced yet.
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