Ben Bagley, the proven master of revue, has concocted a tongue-in-cheek historic cavalcade from the rare jewels of Cole Porter's vast musical treasure trove. The 'world' under scrutiny is that between 1919 and 1945 when, indeed, some considerable declining and falling went on. Here, the generally unsuspected meanings behind many of Porter's songs indicate that during times of chaos and destruction, he saw the world with an impudent, highly sophisticated and indomitably euphoric gaze. Porter created a world of his own through his songs, and made ours richer in the process.
Writers Notes for The Decline and Fall...Eyes of Cole Porter
Written By: Ben Bagley
The 1980's -- an age of enlightenment. Subjects that were taboo a few years ago are now dealt with openly in the arts and in life. Acceptance of amatory glories are offering inspiration and hope to countless Americans who are discovering, for example, generally unsuspected meanings in the songs of Cole Porter. This is true not only of his familiar material, but in many of the unknown songs, included in this revue. At any rate, the future promises us freedom from inhibition, and Porter's work, which is so completely uninhibited, belongs to this age and the future, more than that of any other composer. I should know -- I've been collecting unfamiliar Porter material since I was thirteen.
The Decline and Fall of the Entire World As Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter, my revuesical which played at the Square East Theatre in New York, shows, by means of historical cavalcade, that in times of chaos and destruction Porter saw the world with impudent, highly sophisticated and indomitably euphoric gaze. And this despite his personal tragedies.
He was thrown from a horse in 1937 and partially crippled. A terrifically courageous man, Porter composed the scores for many of his best shows while suffering countless painful operations and facing the possible loss of both his legs. An example of his spirit was shown in a 1939 issue of LIFE magazine. An advertisement presented a beaming Cole Porter holding his manuscript of Give Him the Oo-La, a song from Du Barry Was a Lady DU and saying Bayer aspirin had helped him complete his latest hit. Saucy! Sassy! Impudent! Cole Porter!