When something as good as Cole Porter gets offered up onto a live stage, it’s important to take a deep breath, a good listen and a hearty swing step into the glittering good life in order to truly honor one of America’s most famous classical composer/songwriters in style. And style is exactly what International City Theatre offered while giving reverence to the man and his music.
ICT Long Beach opened on January 22, with the show-stopping performance, Let’s Misbehave, entitled from one of Porter’s more well-known tunes, weaving the highlights and favorites of Cole Porter music and lyrics into an original storyline. The result is a heck of an old-school theatrical showdown.
Much in the style of Broadway’s 2008 Abba music revival, Mamma Mia, but with a very adult theme, Let’s Misbehave strings Porter’s greatest hits into a mildly farcical, linear, operetta about three friends, who are in love with one another. That is, she’s in love with him but he’s in love with someone else and so on. Ending on a high note in the final hours of a party, the three single friends vow to fall in love by the summer, with, of course, somebody else other than each other. They are, after all, insanely fabulous! Inevitably, however, antics ensue and hearts get broken brilliantly sans wrinkles, makeup smudges, a hair out of place or more than mildly drunk even while slinging cocktails into the wee hours singing and dancing up an uninterrupted pre and postwar version of Glee – storm.
It’s not complicated. Just silly. And although the beginning lacks a tad bit of sparkle, (it seemed a bit directionally, dryly off-kilter for a brief part of the first act) by the time the second act bursts on the scene, magic happens, the singers get to show-off their stuff, which is “hot off the flame”, passion explodes all over the place and friendship miraculously endures. It is never dull, paces quickly and is song-birded by three of the most talented artists that SoCal has to offer, Jennifer Shelton, Marc Ginsburg, and Lindsey Alley.
Audiences love this evening and truth be told, it’s delightful, it’s delectable, it’s de-lovely!
Let’s Misbehave is a menagerie of dazzling fun, in grand style.
Karin Bowersock & Patrick Young
Book by Karin Bowersock
Arrangements by Patrick young
Director/Choreographer Todd Neilsen