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Sutter Performing Arts presents 'A Little Cole'
Warm up to Cole Porter music at Lee Burrows Center in Marysville
'A Little Cole to Warm the Heart'
TIMES: 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Lee Burrows Center for the Arts, 630 E St., Marysville
TICKETS: $13 and $15
"'A Little Cole to Warm the Heart' is a show that's basically a bunch of Cole Porter songs," said director Neil Thorson. "I think we have about 32 songs by Cole Porter that we're using out of the more than 1,000 that he wrote."
Thorson said the approximately 90-minute production intersperses narration and information about Porter's life with his music. It runs Thursday through Sunday at Lee Burrows Center for the Arts in Marysville and includes dozens of familiar Porter tunes, such as "Anything Goes," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Night and Day," "Love For Sale" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."
"We stumbled on a big secret that most people don't know," Thorson said, "which is a Cole Porter connection to Marysville: Porter's grandfather came to California during the gold rush. In the Marysville area, he discovered he couldn't make any money at gold mining, but he could do well selling supplies.
"So he went up into Nevada County and opened a little store and traveled between Marysville and Nevada County — and that is where he made his money," Thorson added. "When he was done making money and went back to Indiana, he started buying land and forests. And that is how Cole Porter's family became the richest family in Indiana.
"So if there had been no gold rush, there would have been no Cole Porter."
Cole Porter's music is very American, Thorson added. "And any American music relates to jazz. His music is used by jazz bands and jazz singers all over the world."
The cast of singers includes Brant and Eleanor Bordsen, Janet Frye, Wendy Garbarino, David Harris, Catrina McCaffrey, Stephanie McClain Bolinger, Liesl McPherrin and Nancy Pasternack. Thorson emcees and also sings.
Accompanying the cast are musical director Steve Shepard on piano; Russ Decker on bass; and Rob Hilton on drums.
"Cole Porter songs are everywhere," Thorson said. "In fact, just in the last week, I have seen three movies that used a Cole Porter song. At the Tony Awards, the best musical revival award went to a Cole Porter musical. And I've heard commercials where Diana Krall, the jazz singer, was singing Cole Porter songs.
"He's everywhere. And that's pretty amazing when you consider that he started writing in the early part of the 20th century — about 1919 — and never wrote anything after 1964, I believe. But he's as popular today as he was then," Thorson said.
"Young artists love his music. It's not the easiest music in the world to sing. He put a lot of thought into his music, and it doesn't always go where you expect it to go. So you have to really look at what you're singing to get the lyrics right and the music right. But when they do learn it, young people are just entranced by his music."
Bob Hechtman is co-director with Thorson, with Donna Clark as producer. "Bob was the co-conspirator on this show," Thorson said. "He helped me with formatting it and writing it. Unfortunately, he's been ill and has been out of it for the last couple of weeks. But his name is still on the production because he's still very much involved.
"I have never, ever had a better producer than Donna Clark. Donna takes care of everything that I don't have to worry about. She is great, and I want to thank her," Thorson added.
"I think people should come to this show if they like to be entertained, have a good time and just enjoy great music," Thorson said.
CONTACT Susan Benitez at 749-4773.