Cole Porter: Ever young at The Greens

If anyone still thinks that age has anything to do with theatrical performance, “Hot & Cole,” The Greens’ fourth annual talent show, dispels that notion. This past Sunday afternoon’s production, the life and music of Cole Porter, was magic, from the Prime Time Chimers’ overture to the “Anything Goes” finale by singers in their 70s, 80s and 90s.

In twinkling purple hats with lit-up purple balloons behind them, The Greens Chorus added wit and wisdom to Porter’s music and lyrics. Gretchen Yengst’s script and unique slide show of the composer’s life, from Indiana infant to fame and fortune, was amazing. The show was dedicated to Gretchen’s mother, Beezie Cole Schmitt, a resident of The Greens for almost 10 years, who died a week before the opening. Mrs. Schmitt’s father was Cole Porter’s cousin and closest boyhood friend. Cole was also the best man at his wedding. With her mother’s help, Gretchen gathered Cole Porter personal memorabilia never seen before.

The show was designed so the audience could sing Cole Porter’s songs along with the chorus. Lyrics on a movie screen helped them out. Each number was outstanding, cheered on by the audience. When Jody Stracka sang C’est Magnifique, when Helen Ladouceaur sang My Heart Belongs to Daddy, when Mary Jane Haiback gave her rendition of Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love, the audience responded with applause that became louder and more enthusiastic with each song.

The Greens’ annual talent shows are one-of-a-kind, inspiring to families and friends, a testament to the spirit, energy and determination of men and women who defy age and give their all, overcoming shyness and fragility. So many people helped make this production possible only the playbill can list them all. Brenda Fay, producer and narrator, Padraic Spencer, musical director, the 15-person chorus, The Greens staff, production assistants and volunteers teamed together to create an extraordinary experience for cast and audience.

The performers made Cole Porter alive again and as people reluctantly left Trackside, you could hear them humming Anything Goes, You Do Something to Me and the other irresistible tunes. It was Cole Porter renewed, revered and rejuvenated.