Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward

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Love, Noël
The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward

Irish Repertory Theatre, NYC, August 17, 2019

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

KT Sullivan & Steve Ross
Photo: Carol Rosegg

As devised by Barry Day, and defined as an “entertainment,” Love, Noël falls very comfortably in the middle ground between cabaret and theater. An elegant presentation built around the songs and correspondence of the the Master, Noël Coward, it provides a showcase for his writing and for the two wonderful performers on stage.

Charlotte Moore contributes seamless and almost invisible direction so that the show moves smoothly along without fussiness during its 90-minute, no-intermission, running time.

The performers are certainly well-known to New York cabaret habitués: Steve Ross, a fine interpreter of Coward, looking elegant in a tuxedo (the singer/pianist is one of a dying breed of gentlemen who can wear the outfit without looking like a head waiter), and the glamorous KT Sullivan, displaying not only her shimmering soprano but a surprising talent for mimicry as she portrayed the various celebrated women in the composer’s circle.

Among the personalities Sullivan brings alive are Gertrude Lawrence (“Someday I’ll Find You”), Marlene Dietrich (“Never Again,” as she bemoans her affair with Yul Brynner) and, riotously, Elaine Stritch (a major highlight of the show with “Why Do the Wrong People Travel”—a perfect evocation of “Stritchie’s” delivery and rhythm). Ross sticks mostly to channeling the subject of the evening in many moods: playful (“I Like America”), soulful (“I’ll Remember Her” in tribute to Lawrence’s too early passing), rueful (“I Travel Alone”), and sarcastic—the inevitable “(Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage) Mrs.


One pleasure of this pleasurable evening was the discovery of some truly obscure works, such as the comic “Touring Days” and the romantic “I Wanted to Show You Paris.” Mention should also be made of the simple and appropriate set design by James Morgan and the subtle lighting plan by Michael Gottlieb.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."

This Post Has One Comment

  1. George N. Peak

    Wonderful !

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