Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate, now back on Broadway, represents some of the songwriter's best-known and most mainstream work, but the new cabaret show, Confidentially, Cole, returning for a New York City engagement Feb. 10, exposes "underground" Porter.
Singer Sean Hayden performed the program of blue and naughty Porter, some of it known to be banned on the radio in the 1930s, in fall 1999 at the Triad Theatre, and now the show returns there prior to a national tour and in conjunction with a CD release. Performances continue to March 4, prior to spring bookings around the country.
Hayden sings arcane Porter tunes, which carry a theme of forbidden love, longing and obsession, under the direction of Lina Koutrakos. Sally Mayes is production supervisor and Rick Jensen musical-directs a four-piece band.
Especially intriguing to Porter fans: Two orphaned Porter lyrics whose tunes have been lost over the years, are dressed up with new melodies penned by Steve Ross and Ann Hampton Callaway.
The show promises to explore the yearnings of a closeted Porter, whose lyrics are filled with coded references to forbidden love. And not so forbidden. Porter was, after all, the composer-lyricist who wrote "Love for Sale," in which a prostitute moaned, "If you want to buy my wares...follow me and climb the stairs." In "I'm a Gigolo," the singer is apparently a gay escort "pushing ladies with lifted faces 'round the floor."
The songlist -- representing hits and arcana -- includes "Something For the Boys," "I'm a Gigolo/Love For Sale," "I'm in Love With a Soldier Boy," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," "Let's Misbehave," "Cafe Society Still Carries On" (with new music by Steve Ross), "I Gaze in Your Eyes," "In Chelsea Somewhere," "Night and Day," "I Loved Him But He Didn't Love Me," and more.
Hayden, the son of a Southern Baptist minister, moved to New York from Dallas in 1999. His regional theatre credits include principal appearances with the Dallas Shakespeare Festival, the Ft. Worth Shakespeare in the Park Festival. He has studied acting with Betty Buckley.
Designers are Matt Berman (lighting) and Alan Harden (costumes). Technical direction is by Johnny Walker.
Tickets are $15-$25, with a $10 minimum. The Triad Theatre is at 158 W. 72nd Street (off Broadway). Call (212) 799-4599 for reservations. There is a preferred seating area with a pre-paid ticket.
-- By Kenneth Jones