Is there room in New York for yet another concert version of another old musical from another concert-series company?
The New York Historical Society and the London troupe called Lost Musicals are apparently saying that anything goes and are staging a concert of Cole Porter's 1941 musical comedy, Let's Face It, Sept. 23-24. (A performance also took place Sept. 16, and got favorable notices.) New York has been a home in recent years for concert stagings of lost, neglected, flop, misunderstood or rarely-revived musicals, resuscitated in series such as Encores! (at City Center), Musicals in Mufti by York Theatre Company (Off-Broadway) and Musicals Tonight! (seen Off-Off Broadway).
Let's Face It marks the New York debut of the lauded London company that predates all three Manhattan efforts and focuses on musicals staged in the heyday of musical theatre, 1930-60. The company has been active for a dozen years. It was not immediately clear if the company plans to have a larger Manhattan presence in the future.
Broadway talent will sing and act in the revival, to be presented at the New York Historical Society, at 2 W. 77th Street, 6:30 PM Sept. 23-24. The Sept. 24 performance, hosted by Kitty Carlisle Hart, will be a benefit for the New York-based not-for profit Lost Musicals Charitable Trust. A portion of the money also goes to the New York Historical Society.
Ian Marshall Fisher, artistic director of Lost Musicals, will stage the show (accompaniment is a single piano), with a cast that includes Becky Ann Baker (Titanic, The Most Fabulous Story..., June Moon), David Costabile (Tempest, New Shakespeare Festival), Samantha Cox, Sarajean Davenport, MacIntyre Dixon (1776, ...Forum, Beauty and the Beast), Marcy Harriell (Rent, Blood Brothers national tour), Delphi Harrington, Lisa Howard, Kenneth Kantor (Guys and Dolls, ...Forum, Me and My Girl), David Pittu (Parade national tour), Rex Robbins (Gypsy, Six Degrees..., The Magic Show), Linda Romoff (Cabaret, Victor/Victoria, Damn Yankees) and Jim Stanek, under the musical direction of Larry Yurman. The aim of Lost Musicals "is to present the little-known scores, lyrics and books of seldom seen musicals from Broadway's heyday between 1930 and 1960, as they were written."
"The idea is to allow us to hear the original intent of the composer, lyricist and the bookwriter," Fisher said in a statement. "We can experience, warts and all, what they first presented and make no attempt to revise or change the show for contemporary fashion."
Premiering on Broadway in 1941 with a cast lead by Danny Kaye, Eve Arden, Vivian Vance and Nanette Fabray, Let's Face It includes such Porter songs as "Ace in the Hole," "Ev'rything I Love," "Farming" and "Let's Not Talk About Love." Herbert and Dorothy Fields penned the book. Let's Face It originally played 547 performances.
For tickets to Let's Face It call Applause Inc. at (800) 451-9930 between 10 AM and 5 PM daily. Tickets are $35. Tickets for the Sept. 24 performance are priced $35 or $150, which includes supper with the cast hosted by Kitty Carlisle Hart. Tickets are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
— By Kenneth Jones