What Is This Thing Called Cole? – FORGOTTEN PORTER (III)

Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday and the continuation of our six-week series on Cole Porter musicals that we’ve yet to cover here on That’s Entertainment! Given that Porter is my first musical theatre obsession and my favorite Broadway composer, we’ve covered quite a lot of his work, but these six shows, spanning from 1928 to 1946, are making their Musical Theatre Monday debuts. So far we’ve covered Paris (1928) and La Revue Des Ambassadeurs (1928). Today…

 

III. Wake Up And Dream (03/27/29 – November 1929)

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British producer Charles B. Cochran hired Porter, despite misgivings, to complete the score for his new musical revue, which opened in London during March of 1929 and starred Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale, Tillie Losch, George Metaxa, and Elsie Carlisle. Despite a rollickingly fresh score by Porter, the show received mixed review from the critics. Yet Wake Up And Dream proved to be popular enough to convince Cochran to mount the show in New York with producer Arch Selwyn, where it opened on December 30, 1929 — the last musical of the decade. Matthews and Losch were retained, while Jack Buchanan replaced Hale and Metaxa. The score was paired down, and the show received similarly mixed reviews, enjoying, most likely due to the recent financial crisis, an even shorter run that it had in London.

Although Wake Up And Dream was left for obscurity, the show did introduce a handful of outstanding tunes, one of which became a Porter hallmark. Above is original cast member George Metaxa with “What Is This Thing Called Love?” which was introduced in London by Elsie Carlisle.

The show’s other hit was “Looking At You,” which had been added to La Revue Des Ambassadeurs during its run. Here, sung by Jessie Matthews and Sonnie Hale, the number became popular. The rendition above is by Leslie Hutchinson. Porter also recycled hit hit from Paris, “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)” and a number written, but unused in the aforementioned show, “Which (Is The Right Life)?” The rendition of the latter below is by Jeri Southern.

Jessie Matthews also had the pleasure of introducing the aching “I Loved Him (But He Didn’t Love Me),” which did not make it into the New York production. Here’s Sarah Vaughan.

Several charming numbers were added during the London run, including Stephen Williams’ “I’m A Gigolo,” taken here from The Decline And Fall Of The Entire World As Seen Through The Eyes Of Cole Porter.

And we’ll end today’s post with another number added during the run — this one for Hale, also taken below from a Bagley album. Here’s “I Want To Be Raided By You.” (To hear more of this score, Bagley’s albums are a gold mine!)

 

 

Come back next Monday for another Cole Porter musical! And tune in tomorrow for the best from the final season of Rhoda!

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