Staged Reading of Cole Porter's Can-Can Set for July

By Andrew Gans
27 Mar 2013

Cole Porter
Cole Porter

A staged reading of the Cole Porter classic Can-Can will be presented in Manhattan in July, according to an Equity casting notice.

The reading, which will be directed by David Lee, will feature choreography by Patti Colombo and musical direction by Steve Orich.

In January it was announced that a revival of the musical will arrive on Broadway in spring 2014, presented by Jonathan Burrows, nephew of the musical’s original book writer, Abe Burrows.

The Broadway revival will feature a revised book by Lee (Two By Two and Gigi at Reprise, TV’s “Frasier” and “Cheers”) and Joel Fields (How I Fell in Love at Abingdon Theatre Company, TV’s “Ugly Betty" and "Raising the Bar"). Lee will also direct the production with choreography by Colombo (Peter Pan) and musical direction by Tony Award nominee Orich (Jersey Boys).



Can-Can, according to press notes, is the story of "Pistache, the only café owner in Paris who dares to feature the scandalous and illicit Can-Can dance. Will her defiance of the law be the end of both her café and her chance for love?" The Cole Porter score features such songs as “I Love Paris,” “C’est Magnifique” and “It’s All Right With Me."

Can-Can was first presented at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre in 1953 by Cy Feuer and Ernest H. Martin. The musical made an overnight sensation of Gwen Verdon. A 1960 film adaptation starred Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan. Patti LuPone starred in the recent City Center Encores! version.

This new version of Can-Can was first presented at The Pasadena Playhouse in 2007. At the time co-author and director David Lee commented, "My mentor and good friend James Burrows is the son of Abe. When I mentioned gingerly to him that I was intrigued with trying to work on his dad's show, he was encouraging. Happily, the Cole Porter estate also gave us permission to try out a new approach. The new book is about 80% percent new – but almost all of Abe's original characters remain. For historical flavor we added a few characters of our own that were actual performers at the Moulin Rouge. Rather than a 'rewriting' of the show, Joel and I like to think of this version as a 're-setting'—as you might a piece of jewelry – polishing up the gems Porter and Burrows left us."