‘Let’s Misbehave’ showcases Cole Porter classics
By TOM WITOM - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go
WHAT: “Let’s Misbehave” at Fox Valley Repertory at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles
WHEN: Through Sunday, Oct. 20
SHOW INFORMATION: 630-584-6342 or www.foxvalleyrep.org
ST. CHARLES – Cole Porter, known for his urbane wit and bouncy melodies, did some of his best work during the 1920s and ’30s, but the prolific composer-songwriter’s contributions to stage and cinema were no flash in the pan.
The artist’s musical legacy – from irresistible romantic numbers to quirky comical ditties – still resonates with modern audiences as well as those of a certain age.
For proof, look no further than Fox Valley Repertory’s superb production of “Let’s Misbehave!” This fast-paced musical revue, smartly directed by Kevin Bellie, showcases some 30 of Porter’s legendary classics.
The production, conceived by Patrick Young and Karin Bowerstock, draws from Porter’s well-known works like “Anything Goes” and “Kiss Me Kate” to late-career hits “Silk Stockings” and “Can-Can.”
Songs are deftly woven through a storyline involving three friends in New York during the 1930s who are unwinding in the wee hours of the morning after a party when they find themselves taking stock in their singlehood. They long for a soul mate and make a pact to find true love before the year ends.
But the quest gets complicated when the two women, Alice and Dorothy, fall for the same guy, Walter.
Bellie, who also gets creative choreographing the occasional dance steps that dovetail with many of the vocal numbers, has a first-rate cast that measures up to the demands of this challenging revue.
Khaki Pixley, Blake Reddick and Heather Townsend are veteran actors, each gifted with a strong, expressive voice. Individually and in combination, they smoothly sing and dance their way through the two-hour show. They are supported by onstage pianist Ryan Brewster, a tireless, unflappable musician who’s in perfect sync with the performers.
Townsend shines in the dreamy “In the Still of the Night” and opening-night audience members were humming the tune on the way out. Meanwhile, Pixley shows off her impressive vocal range in the amusing “Always True to You in My Fashion” and the tender “Let’s Not Talk About Love.” Reddick pleases in “You Do Something To Me.”
But overall, the best work comes when the three team up for “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Anything Goes,” “De-Lovely” and the title song “Let’s Misbehave!”
Stylish costumes reflective of the period by Kimberly Morris fit right in with Bob Nauth’s elegant apartment set with its art deco-style side tables, glittery chandelier and floor-to-ceiling chrome-and-glass backdrop leading to a sweeping balcony.