Evans and Friedman appeared together at Cadogan Hall last summer in the Stephen Sondheim-inspired concert Simply Sondheim, the first in a planned annual series of musical-themed concerts at the 900-seat classical music venue in Sloane Square. This year, under the banner of “American Songbook”, A Swell Party will be followed by Glorious Gershwin, four one-off concerts including performances by Willard White and Kim Criswell.
Written by John Kane and first staged at West End’s Vaudeville Theatre in 1991, A Swell Party recreates the spirit of the US songwriter through words and music and includes classic songs like “I Get A Kick Out of You”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Night and Day” from shows such as High Society, Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes and Gay Divorce.
In the concert presentation at Cadogan Hall, Simon Green will play Cole Porter, with fellow Simply Sondheim veterans Graham Bickley and Mary Carewe also joining the company. David Firman and Jason Carr direct the music from two pianos.
The Glorious Gershwin concerts features the best of George Gershwin and other composers of the time, including Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Kurt Weill. Willard White, well known for playing the role of Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, sings his favourite Gershwin numbers on 13 August; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs Rhapsody in Blue on 14 August; and West End and Broadway actress Kim Criswell and the BBC Big Band celebrate some of the best-loved songs of George and Ira Gershwin and their contemporaries on 22 and 23 August.
Ian Maclay, Cadogan Hall’s artistic director, said: “Following the success of the Simply Sondheim production here last summer, we feel there is a genuine demand for high-quality performances of music by composers best known for their work in the theatre: and George Gershwin and Cole Porter are two of the truly great composers in this field. We have an outstanding cast of singers for each of the productions, so, as George and Ira Gershwin might have said, the shows will be 'swonderful, 'smarvellous!”
- by Terri Paddock