High Society (musical)

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This article is about the musical. For other uses, see High society (disambiguation).
High Society
Original Recording
Music Cole Porter
Lyrics Cole Porter
Susan Birkenhead
Book Arthur Kopit
Basis The Philadelphia Story
High Society
Premiere September 4, 1997 – American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco
Productions 1998 Broadway
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.[1]


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.


Original Broadway:

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.[2] 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.[3] 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).[4] 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).[5]

West End:

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), Marc Kudisch (George Kittredge), Claire Redcliffe (Dinah Lord), Jerry Hall (Mother Lord), and James Jordan[disambiguation needed] (Seth Lord).[6]

In 1987, another version of High Society played the West End. Written and directed by Richard Eyre, it starred Natasha Richardson.[7]

High Society opens in 2015 at The Old Vic Theatre with Kate Fleetwood as Tracy Lord, Rupert Young as C.K. Dexter Haven, Jamie Parker as Mike Connor, Barbara Flynn as Margaret Lord, Anabel Scholey as Liz Imbrie and Ellie Bamber [8] as Dinah Lord in a production directed by Maria Friedman. Dates are between 30 April and 22 August 2015.[9]

Song List[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
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

West End[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2004 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Tracie Bennett Nominated


External links[edit]