Get Another Kick Out of Cole
Kiss Me Kate is often mentioned as the quintessential Cole Porter musical, but in terms of sheer compositional invention, Anything Goes, from 1934, shines just a bit brighter. This is the show that gave the world "I Get a Kick Out of You," that famous treatise on the giddiness of romance. It's also where to find "Easy to Love," the most sweeping and least corny of Porter's ballads; "You're the Top"; and, of course, "Anything Goes." Just about every composition has a tart Porter observation (often on class and social status) or withering retort—to go along with melodies strong enough to support the wordiest lyrics.
This 1987 production, mounted by Lincoln Center, ushered in the era of "revisicals"—elaborate revivals from the golden age of Broadway. Set on board a luxury liner, the show was, from set design to costumes, an opulent Deco throwback. As has happened with other revisited musicals, the producers pulled in hit songs from other Porter shows. (These include "De-Lovely" and "Friendship," both well utilized in this context.)
To those who have learned Cole Porter songs listening to Sinatra or jazz singers, the more exacting music-theater approach may seem a bit stiff. These singers do lay the vibrato on thick—at times Patti LuPone, whose turn here made her into a bankable star, sings so passionately that the lyrics become garbled. But she also knows how to deliver Porter's athletic, not-always-obvious rhymes: Her "I Get a Kick Out of You" contains several nods to the role's originator, Ethel Merman.
Released: 1988, RCA
Key Tracks: "Anything Goes," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Easy to Love," "It's De-Lovely"
Another Interpretation: Original Broadway Cast
Catalog Choice: Kiss Me Kate, Original Broadway Cast
Next Stop: Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook
After That: Jerry Herman: Hello, Dolly!
Book Pages: 605–606