High Society (musical)
|Basis||The Philadelphia Story
2005 West End
High Society is a musical comedy with a book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Cole Porter. In some instances, updated or new lyrics were provided by Susan Birkenhead. The musical is based on Philip Barry's 1939 classic stage comedy, The Philadelphia Story, and the subsequent 1956 musical film adaptation, High Society, which features Porter's songs. The Broadway show includes most of the music featured in the movie, along with various songs selected from other Porter musicals.
The plot centers on pretentious Oyster Bay socialite, Tracy Samantha Lord, who is planning a June, 1938 wedding to an equally pretentious executive when ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven arrives to disrupt the proceedings. Additional comic complications arise when tabloid reporter Mike Connor, who is there to cover the wedding, also falls for the bride-to-be.
High Society premiered at the American Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco in an out-of-town tryout on September 4, 1997 and ran through October 5, 1997. The musical began previews on Broadway on March 31, 1998 and officially opened on April 27, 1998 at the St. James Theatre. High Society closed on August 30, 1998 after 144 performances. Directed by Christopher Renshaw, the cast included Melissa Errico (Tracy Samantha Lord), Daniel McDonald (C.K. Dexter Haven), John McMartin (Uncle Willie), Stephen Bogardus (Mike Conner), Randy Graff (Liz Imbrie), Lisa Banes (Margaret Lord), Marc Kudisch (George Kittredge), a 12-year-old Anna Kendrick (Dinah Lord; Theatre World Award), Lisa Barnes (Margaret Lord), and Daniel Gerroll (Seth Lord). The original Broadway production was produced by Lauren Mitchell & Robert Gailus, Hal Luftig & Richard Samson, and Dodger Endemol Theatricals, in association with Bill Haber. Other opening night credits include Loy Arcenas (Set Design), Jane Greenwood (Costumes), Howell Binkley (Lighting), Tony Meola (Sound Design), and Willa David Brohn (Musical Orchestration).
The West End production of High Society, directed by Ian Talbot with choreography by Gillian Gregory, premiered at the Open Air Theatre at Regent’s Park in London on July 24, 2003, and following a touring production subsequently transferred to London’s Shaftesbury Theatre. It began previews on October 1, 2005, opened on October 10, 2005, and closed on January 21, 2006. Produced by Mark Goucher Productions, the cast included Katherine Kingsley (Tracy Lord), Graham Bickley (C.K. Dexter Haven), Ria Jones (Liz Imbrie), Paul Robinson (Mike Connor), John McMartin (Uncle Willie), Mark Kudish (George Kittredge), Claire Redcliffe (Dinah Lord), Jerry Hall (Mother Lord), and James Jordan (Seth Lord).
Awards and nominations
|1998||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||John McMartin||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Anna Kendrick||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Melissa Errico||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||John McMartin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Anna Kendrick||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Anna Kendrick||Won|
|2004||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Musical Revival||Nominated|
|Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Tracie Bennett||Nominated|