"Unforgettable. That's what you are."
Theatregoers can be sure the title tune, "Unforgettable," will make an appearance in Unforgettable, The Nat King Cole Story, a new musical constructed of the velvet voiced pianist's best known songs. Monroe Kent III, star of London's Five Guys Named Moe, stars as Cole in this American premiere, starting previews June 6 and opening June 7 at Albany's Capital Repertory Theatre for a run through June 25.
The son of an Alabama preacher, Cole began playing at an early age, falling in love with the piano. When his family moved to Chicago, he fell in love further - this time with jazz playing blues clubs until, while, touring with a black Broadway musical, he became stranded in Los Angeles. There he gained the moniker "King" and two other musicians, whose album "Straighten Up and Fly Away" became a huge hit for Capitol Records in 1944. Cole would go on to win an Academy Award for "Mona Lisa" in 1950 and sing the hits "Route 66," "Unforgettable" and "The Christmas Song - Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire." All the while, he fought racism, moved into a white Hollywood neighborhood despite protests, and refused to appear at resorts and other places that barred blacks. Feb. 15, 1965, Cole died of lung cancer at age 45.
Kent's credits include productions of Unforgettable in the United Kingdom and on tour in the Far East. In the US, he played Nomax in Five Guys Named Moe at Boston's Wilbur and the Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, and toured as Andre and Curtis Taylor, Jr. in the national tours of Ain't Misbehavin' and Dreamgirls.
Tickets are $35-$25. The Capital Repertory Theatre is located at 111 North Pearl Street. For tickets call 518-445-SHOW. Capital Repertory Theatre is on the web at http://www.capitalrep.org. -- By Christine Ehren