REVIEWS: The New Yorkers

The New Yorkers
The New York Post April 11, 2003
Reviewed by Donald Lyons

As presented by Musicals Tonight, a down-town, seat-of-the-pants version of Encores!, The New Yorkers is a treat - that’s to about 30 of the chic, decadent songs of Cole Porter.

The New Yorkers, written in 1930, had a story by noted New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno, was directed by Monty Wooley and starred raspy-voiced comic Jimmy Durante.

The plot is an incomprehensible and trivial mishmash of socialites and gangsters set in speakeasies and Sing Sing. But those songs!

Independent of the plot, they give a bubbly portrait of a decade and a town that Porter invented as much as reflected.

About half of them are borrowed from earlier Porter shows with titles like Fifty Million Frenchmen (1930) and Wake Up and Dream (1929).

You can also hear "Love For Sale," "Say It With Gin," "Heaven Hop," and "The Great Indoors" - all in the first act.

Playing the Durante character, Robert Lydiard gets to warble "I Happen to Like New York," which amounts to this show’s theme song.

Everybody joins in the final chorus of "Take Me Back To Manhattan," the wickedest place in the whole world.

Porter’s cheerful decadence is fun and filled with laughter. There’s just no down side to it.

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