A Cole Porter Songbook | No Exit Cafe | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

A Cole Porter Songbook Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 15 2013

Cole Porter was a revolutionary disguised as a party boy. Starting with Jazz Age/early Depression-era show tunes like "Anything Goes" and "Let's Misbehave," he declared war on the world of American Gothic, helped usher in an era of sexy, cosmopolitan knowingness. "'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock," he wrote of the Puritans, should they stumble into his new order, "Plymouth Rock would land on them." This revue from Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre never quite encompasses that suave, incendiary Porter. In fact, it devalues him at times: Director Fred Anzevino and music director Aaron Benham order the 30-odd songs in such a way as to make them seem repetitive rather than creative. And there are badly mixed messages in both the terrible costuming and Benham's constant onstage presence, playing an upright piano and wearing a beat-up fedora a la Hoagy Carmichael. Singer/dancer Jill Sesso goes a long way toward redeeming the situation, though, with a torchy rendition of "So in Love" that opens up a channel to Porter's ferocious carnality. —Tony Adler

Price: $20-$59

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