“Hosted by YATS’ purveyor of cheer Joe Vuskovich (with kibitzing by wife Gina), this show was the perfect way to close out the month of May. Backed by the Gary Walters Trio with Walters on piano, Thomas Brinkley on bass and Kenny Phelps on drums, the arc of the evening took us through the Cole Porter’s distinctive 40-year writing career across the 1920s through the 1960s and showed why he still impacts our musical experiences. Kiss Me, Kate won the first Tony Award for Best Musical in 1949; the 1934 Anything Goes hit Broadway again in 2011 —12 for 500 performances, was an ISO POPS concert version standout at the Hilbert Circle Theatre a year ago, followed by a sparkly full production at Beef & Boards. Any one of his 40 musicals is up someplace every day.
The arc of the revue proved why Porter’s sophisticated lyrics and music continue to touch us. Gail Payne opened with a feel of Paris, and an understanding of Porter’s personal struggle to fit into expectations and still be who he is. She brought pathos and joy to “My Love for You”. Kaitlyn Rebee followed up with a spunky “Why Can’t You Behave.”“