Fifty Million Frenchmen, with music and lyrics by Porter and a book by Herbert Fields (adapted by Tommy Krasker and Evans Haile), will kick off the celebration September 28–October 6. This boy-meets-girl musical, set in the City of Love, introduced such Porter favorites as “You Do Something to Me,” “You’ve Got That Thing,” and “The Tale of the Oyster.” Hans Friedrichs will direct the production with musical direction by York Executive Director Haile.
The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter, created and originally directed by Ben Bagley, will follow, playing October 12–20. The irreverent musical journey that travels the globe through an array of Porter gems will be directed by Pamela Hunt.
Closing out the fall series is the 1940s hit musical Panama Hattie, with music and lyrics by Porter and a book by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva, October 26–November 3. Porter and Ethel Merman teamed up for their fourth hit, in which a brassy nightclub owner must bid for the approval of her fiancé’s family—a task only made more complicated when she discovers a plan to blow up the Panama Canal. Klea Blackhurst will star under the direction of Michael Montel.
These musical theatre titles, performed in simply staged, book-in-hand concert format, are part of the Muftis’ 26th year of presenting shows from the past that deserve a second look.
Producing Artistic Director James Morgan stated, “Cole Porter was a true New York sophisticate, providing delectable music and lyrics for countless captivating shows from the 1920s into the 1960s. No one’s songs better capture the cosmopolitan spirit of the period. To be able to bring his musical brilliance to the York stage for our 50th anniversary celebration seems a perfect choice.”