Cole Porter musical combines wit with familiar melodies in High Society
The Arts Club's new musical, "High Society", brings audiences back to a time when when second marriages were scandalous and affairs even more so -- and the gorgeous wit and melodies of Cole Porter enticed the world. Playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage May 10 - June 24 with the official opening this Wednesday May 16, artistic director of the Arts Club and director of High Society, Bill Millerd suggested that the story "has a contemporary feel, even though the Philadelphia Story was considered edgy discussing a woman who was divorced and about to enter a second marriage. "
First created on film in 1940 as a vehicle for actress Katherine Hepburn based on the stage play The Philadelphia Story (by Phillip Barry in 1939), High Society featured Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.
A later version in 1956 starring Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra downplayed the moral ambiguity of a high society woman Tracy Lord --inspired by real life Philadelphia socialite Helen Hope Montgomery Scott -- who is faced with tough decisions when her ex-husband and an attractive journalist show up at the event of her second marriage.
"Grace Kelly's pristine reputation was at stake," explained Millerd. "So the 1956 version does not suggest the affair. The musical gets back to the way the play was written. "
With a cast inncluding Jennifer Lines, Todd Talbott, Daniel Arnold, Lauren Bowler, Norman Browning, Nicola Lipman, and chorus of Vancouver favourites, musical director Ken Cormier and choreographer Valeries Easton, the evening is designed to sparkle on set designer Alison Green's set and in costume designer Ken Clarkson's costumes.
"Jennifer Lines combines Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly and her considerable talent in her role. She was Cleopatra in Bard on the Beach last year, for goodness sake. Todd Talbott is an amazing triple threat who has been in many of our shows, " Millerd entrusted about the rest of his cast as well. "Norman Browning spent over 20 years at the Shaw Festival and Daniel Arnold, Lauren Bowler, and Nicola Lipman are just fabulous performers."
The rest of the Arts Club season has a musical bent, with Altar Boyz returning to the Revue Stage and The Buddy Holly Story returning to the Stanley.
For tickets, contact the Arts Club box office at 604-687-1644 or artsclub.com.