Todd Talbot and Jennifer Lines

Snappy dialogue and Cole Porter tunes—such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and True Love abound in the sparklingly funny musical High Society.

Cole Porter’s music will liven the Stanley Industrial Stage as the Arts Club Theatre brings this production to Vancouver from May 10 to June 24.

Wealthy socialite Tracy Lord (Jennifer Lines) is planning a lavish second wedding, but which man will she marry? Her straight-arrow fiancé (Steve Maddock), an undercover society pages reporter (Daniel Arnold), or her dapper ex-husband (Todd Talbot)? Needless to say, it’s complicated—and Tracy has only hours to sort it out!

The stage musical High Society is based not only on the highly successful 1956 film starring Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, and Bing Crosby, but also on the 1939 play that inspired it, The Philadelphia Story. The latter was made into an Academy Award–winning film of the same name in 1940 and boasted the all-star cast of Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart.

The work of composer and musician Cole Porter (1891–1964) resonates throughout Western popular culture. His oeuvre includes countless pop standards and his musicals are often revived or reinvented on Broadway. Porter is recognized as a key contributor to the Great American Songbook with a flair for punchy, complex rhymes and rhythms. High Society incorporates the songs that Porter wrote expressly for the 1956 film, but also introduces some of his other famous works, such as 1927’s Let’s Misbehave and Red, Hot, and Blue’s 1936 hit Ridin’ High.

Arts Club Theatre’s Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd (and High Society’s director) explained the songwriter’s enduring popularity: “Cole Porter was writing during the heyday of Broadway and movie musicals. His lyrics are witty and his music tuneful—a great combination. His songs also stand alone, perhaps made most famous by Frank Sinatra recordings with Nelson Riddle arrangements. Porter writes about subjects we can all relate to, which make his songs timeless.”

Cole Porter’s High Society

Dates: May 10 to June 24; Tuesday, 7:30 pm; Wednesday to Saturday, 8 pm; Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday matinées, 2 pm
Venue: Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $29 to $70, including tax and fees; available either online or by phoning 604.687.1644

Photo courtesy of David Cooper.

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