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High Society

Book:Arthur Kopit; based on the play The Philadelphia Story, by Philip Barry, also based on the movie High Society; directed by Christopher Renshaw
Music and Lyrics:Cole Porter, additional lyrics by Susan Birkenhead
Musical Direction:Paul Gemignani
Sets:Loy Arcenas
Costumes:Jane Greenwood
Lighting:Howell Binkley
Sound:Tony Meola
Opened:4/98 at the St. James Theatre
Cast:Melissa Errico, John McMartin, Daniel McDonald, Stephen Bogardus, Marc Kudisch, Randy Graff, Lisa Banes, Daniel Gerroll and Anna Kendrick

Based on Philip Barry's play The Philadelphia Story and the subsequent movie, this gaudy trifle follows socialite Tracy Lord (Errico), who's about to marry her conservative nouveau riche fiance George Kittredge (Kudisch). That is, unless her obnoxious sister (Kendrick) and her ex-husband (McDonald) can dissuade her from saying “I do.” However, the frenzied pace and Cole Porter score, even the production's musical highpoint, the snappy “You're Sensational”, can't save this champagne-and-caviar toast from its woefully bourgeois fate. Errico, with her lilting soprano and glamorous presence, is a misplaced talent in this blue-blood farce; her every movement and mannerism, especially her hoity-toity elocution, appears desperately forced. Meanwhile McDonald, Bogardus and Kudisch as her three suitors are equally adrift. Plodding, overanxious and juvenile, this Society may be high living, but it's low theater.