Cole Porter
American composer and songwriter
Cole Porter
Cole Albert Porter was an American composer and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana, he defied the wishes of his domineering grandfather and took up music as a profession. Classically trained, he was drawn towards musical theatre. After a slow start, he began to achieve success in the 1920s, and by the 1930s he was one of the major songwriters for the Broadway musical stage.
Biography
Cole Porter's personal information overview.
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News
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FLASH FRIDAY: ANYTHING GOES & Any Which Way - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Almost eighty years after its premiere, ANYTHING GOES still possesses one of the very finest scores ever to grace the Great White Way and Cole Porter stands as one of the very best of the men behind the music and lyrics in Broadway lore,
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Dramateurs presents the Cole Porter Classic “Kiss Me, Kate” - phillyBurbs.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Put together a feuding husband and wife, a pair of stage-struck gangsters, a Shakespearean comedy, and the wonderful music of Cole Porter and you have the next production at the Barn Playhouse in Jeffersonville. The Dramateurs will present Porter's
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The Medicine Show Presents Cole Porter's Lost Classic PARIS, Opens 9/16 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble, one of New York's longest-running experimental theatres, is granting its audiences' wishes, reviving Cole Porter's first big hit, Paris. The production will open Friday, September 16, 2011 and run through Monday,
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Sharon Rietkerk Leads 42nd Street Moon's NYMPH ERRANT, Previews 10/5 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
The journey begins with NYMPH ERRANT (1933), Cole Porter's madcap tour of 1930s Europe (and his personal favorite of his scores), in which a newly graduatEd English schoolgirl sets off to travel the continent in search of adventure, romance and sex
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Anything Goes presented by Stolen Shakespeare Guild review - TheaterJones Performing Arts News in North Texas
Google News - over 5 years
by Cole Porter The 1934 musical Anything Goes has had many writers working on its book over the years, from the original team of Guy Bolton and PG Wodehouse, to the duo of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Decades later, Russel's son
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Jane Monheit Brings ANYTHING GOES to Birdland, 9/19 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
The Broadway at Birdland concert series is proud to announce that jazz vocalist Jane Monheit will be performing swinging new Mary Ann McSweeney arrangements of the beloved Cole Porter classic, Anything Goes on Monday, September 19 at 7pm
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Two local actors to appear in 'Kiss Me Kate' - NorthJersey.com
Google News - over 5 years
"Kiss Me, Kate" combines Cole Porter's music and lyrics with William Shakespeare's comedy, "The Taming of the Shrew." Winning the first Tony Award for Best Musical in 1949, the show is a play within a play, in which each cast member's onstage life is
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Wicked star takes a de-lovely turn - The Australian
Google News - over 5 years
Amanda Harrison, who plays Reno Sweeney in a revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes at the State Theatre, Melbourne. Picture: David Geraghty Source: The Australian FOR a host of Australian fans of the musical Wicked she is the singer who created the
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Cole Porter musical 'Anything Goes' sets toes tapping on Sun City stage - Bluffton Today
Google News - over 5 years
Except not aboard the SS American, the primary setting for Cole Porter's light and lively musical “Anything Goes.” The two-act show opens to the public at 7:30 tonight in Sun City's Magnolia Hall. On this particular cruise liner, the scheduled
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MFAH Gets Racy with Cole Porter - Houston Press (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
But the quote is from an online resource site on legendary composer and song writer Cole Porter (1891 - 1964), offering a glimpse into a lifestyle that mirrors many modern day music icons, encapsulated in the title of one of his most famous musicals:
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Somerville man is fast-talking gangster in NJPAC production of "Kiss Me, Kate" - NJ.com
Google News - over 5 years
By Warren Cooper/Somerset Messenger-Gazette Steely-eyed Michael Zimmerman of Somerville (right) and Matt Robertson of Montclair are gangsters in the Cole Porter musical "Kiss Me, Kate," on stage at NJPAC's Victoria Theatre in July
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BWW Reviews: The Muny's Lively Production of KISS ME KATE - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
The chance to hear a swinging ensemble play Cole Porter's terrific score is reason enough to take in this production of Kiss Me Kate, but when you add in the eye-catching costumes, enthusiastic performances and lively dance numbers, ... -
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A Room of Her Own, for the Right Song - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
The Cole Porter standard “It's All Right With Me” is a psychological test for any singer, especially a woman. The song's ambivalent narrator, recovering from a breakup, feels “strangely attracted” to a potential new partner and gives
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Sutter Performing Arts presents 'A Little Cole' - Appeal-Democrat
Google News - over 5 years
"'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 1000 that he
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Cole Porter
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1964
    Age 72
    Porter died of kidney failure on October 15, 1964, in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 73.
    More Details Hide Details He is interred in Mount Hope Cemetery in his native Peru, Indiana, between his wife and father. Many artists have recorded Porter songs, and dozens have released entire albums of his songs. In 1956 American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald released Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook. In 1972 she released another collection, Ella Loves Cole. Among the many album collections of Porter songs are the following: Oscar Peterson Plays the Cole Porter Songbook (1959); Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter with Billy May (1959); All Through the Night: Julie London Sings the Choicest of Cole Porter (1965); Rosemary Clooney Sings the Music of Cole Porter (1982); and Anything Goes: Stephane Grappelli & Yo-Yo Ma Play (Mostly) Cole Porter (1989). In 1990 Dionne Warwick released Dionne Sings Cole Porter. In that same year, Red Hot + Blue was released as a benefit CD for AIDS research and featured 20 Cole Porter songs recorded by artists such as U2, Annie Lennox, and Shane MacGowan.
  • 1958
    Age 66
    By 1958, Porter's injuries caused a series of ulcers on his right leg.
    More Details Hide Details After 34 operations, it had to be amputated and replaced with an artificial limb. His friend Noël Coward visited him in the hospital and wrote in his diary, "The lines of ceaseless pain have been wiped from his face. I am convinced that his whole life will cheer up and that his work will profit accordingly." In fact, Porter never wrote another song after the amputation and spent the remaining six years of his life in relative seclusion, seeing only intimate friends. He continued to live in the Waldorf Towers in New York in his memorabilia-filled apartment. On weekends he often visited an estate in the Berkshires, and he stayed in California during the summers.
  • 1952
    Age 60
    Porter's mother died in 1952, and his wife died from emphysema in 1954.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1948
    Age 56
    From this low spot, Porter made a conspicuous comeback, in 1948, with Kiss Me, Kate.
    More Details Hide Details It was by far his most successful show, running for 1,077 performances in New York and 400 in London. The production won the Tony Award for best musical (the first Tony awarded in that category), and Porter won for best composer and lyricist. The score includes "Another Op'nin', Another Show", "Wunderbar", "So In Love", "We Open in Venice", "Tom, Dick or Harry", "I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua", "Too Darn Hot", "Always True to You (in My Fashion)", and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare". Porter began the 1950s with Out Of This World (1950), which had some good numbers but too much camp and vulgarity, and was not greatly successful. His next show, Can-Can (1952), featuring "C'est Magnifique" and "It's All Right with Me", was another hit, running for 892 performances. Porter's last original Broadway production, Silk Stockings (1955), featuring "All of You", was also successful, with a run of 477 performances. Porter wrote two more film scores and music for a television special before ending his Hollywood career. The film High Society (1956), starring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly, included Porter's last major hit song, "True Love". The film was later adapted as a stage musical of the same name. Porter also wrote numbers for the film Les Girls (1957), which starred Gene Kelly.
  • FORTIES
  • 1939
    Age 47
    Meanwhile, as political unrest increased in Europe, Porter's wife closed their Paris house in 1939, and the following year, purchased a country home in the Berkshire mountains, near Williamstown, Massachusetts, which she decorated with elegant furnishings from their Paris home.
    More Details Hide Details Porter spent time in Hollywood, New York and their home in Williamstown. Panama Hattie (1940) was Porter's longest-running hit so far, running in New York for 501 performances, despite the absence of any enduring Porter songs. It starred Merman, with Arthur Treacher and Betty Hutton. Let's Face It! (1941), starring Danny Kaye, had an even better run, with 547 performances in New York. This, too, lacked any numbers that became standards, and Porter always counted it among his lesser efforts. Something for the Boys (1943), starring Merman, ran for 422 performances, and Mexican Hayride (1944), starring Bobby Clark, with June Havoc, ran for 481 performances. These shows, too, are short of Porter standards. The critics did not pull their punches; they complained about the lack of hit tunes and the generally low standard of Porter's scores. After two flops, Seven Lively Arts (1944) (which featured the standard "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye") and Around the World (1946), many thought that Porter's best period was over.
    At the end of 1939, Porter contributed six songs to the film Broadway Melody of 1940 for Fred Astaire, George Murphy and Eleanor Powell.
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  • 1937
    Age 45
    On October 24, 1937, Porter was riding with Countess Edith di Zoppola and Duke Fulco di Verdura at Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, New York, when his horse rolled on him and crushed his legs, leaving him substantially crippled and in constant pain for the rest of his life.
    More Details Hide Details Though doctors told Porter's wife and mother that his right leg would have to be amputated, and possibly the left one as well, he refused to have the procedure. Linda rushed from Paris to be with him, and supported him in his refusal of amputation. He remained in the hospital for seven months and was then allowed to go home to his apartment at the Waldorf Towers. He resumed work as soon as he could, finding it took his mind off his perpetual pain. Porter's first show after his accident was not a success. You Never Know (1938), starring Clifton Webb, Lupe Vélez and Libby Holman, ran for only 78 performances. The score included the songs, "From Alpha to Omega" and "At Long Last Love". He returned to success with Leave It to Me! (1938); the show introduced Mary Martin, singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy", and other numbers included "Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love" and "From Now On". Porter's last show of the 1930s was DuBarry Was a Lady (1939), a particularly risqué show, starring Merman and Bert Lahr. After a pre-Broadway tour, during which it ran into trouble with the Boston censors, it achieved 408 performances, beginning at the 46th Street Theatre. The score included "But in the Morning, No" (which was banned from the airwaves), "Do I Love You? ", "Well, Did You Evah!
    After a walking tour of Europe with his friends, Porter returned to New York in October 1937 without her.
    More Details Hide Details They were soon reunited by an accident suffered by Porter.
    When his film assignment on Rosalie was finished in 1937, Porter hastened to Paris to make his peace with Linda, but she remained cool.
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  • 1935
    Age 43
    The Porters moved to Hollywood in December 1935, but Porter's wife did not like the movie environment, and Porter's homosexual peccadillos, formerly very discreet, became less so; she retreated to their Paris house.
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  • 1934
    Age 42
    Porter also composed the cowboy song "Don't Fence Me In" for Adios, Argentina, an unproduced movie, in 1934, but it did not become a hit until Roy Rogers sang it in the 1944 film Hollywood Canteen.
    More Details Hide Details Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, and other artists also popularized it in the 1940s.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1928
    Age 36
    In August 1928, Porter's work on the show was interrupted by the death of his father.
    More Details Hide Details He hurried back to Indiana to comfort his mother before returning to work. The songs for the show included "Let's Misbehave" and one of his best-known list songs, "Let's Do It", which was introduced by Bordoni and Arthur Margetson. The show opened on Broadway on October 8, 1928. The Porters did not attend the first night because Porter was in Paris supervising another show for which he had been commissioned, La Revue, at a nightclub. This was also a success, and, in Citron's phrase, Porter was finally "accepted into the upper echelon of Broadway songwriters". Cochran now wanted more from Porter than isolated extra songs; he planned a West End extravaganza similar to Ziegfeld's shows, with a Porter score and a large international cast led by Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale and Tilly Losch. The revue, Wake Up and Dream, ran for 263 performances in London, after which Cochran transferred it to New York in 1929. On Broadway, business was badly affected by the 1929 Wall Street crash, and the production ran for only 136 performances. From Porter's point of view, it was nonetheless a success, as his song "What Is This Thing Called Love? " became immensely popular.
    At the age of 36, Porter reintroduced himself to Broadway in 1928 with the musical Paris, his first hit.
    More Details Hide Details It was commissioned by E. Ray Goetz at the instigation of Goetz's wife and the show's star, Irène Bordoni. She had wanted Rodgers and Hart to write the songs, but they were unavailable, and Porter's agent persuaded Goetz to hire Porter instead.
  • 1925
    Age 33
    He wrote most of the original score, but his songs were gradually dropped during the Broadway run, and by the time of the post-Broadway tour in 1925, all his numbers had been deleted.
    More Details Hide Details Frustrated by the public response to most of his work, Porter nearly gave up songwriting as a career, although he continued to compose songs for friends and perform at private parties.
  • 1923
    Age 31
    Porter's work was one of the earliest symphonic jazz-based compositions, predating George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue by four months, and was well received by both French and American reviewers after its premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in October 1923.
    More Details Hide Details After a successful New York performance the following month, the Swedish Ballet company toured the work in the U.S., performing it 69 times. A year later the company disbanded, and the score was lost until it was reconstructed from Porter's and Koechlin's manuscripts between 1966 and 1990, with help from Milhaud and others. Porter had less success with his work on Greenwich Village Follies (1924).
    In 1923, in collaboration with Gerald Murphy, he composed a short ballet, originally titled Landed and then Within the Quota, satirically depicting the adventures of an immigrant to America who becomes a film star.
    More Details Hide Details The work, written for the Swedish Ballet company, lasts about 16 minutes. It was orchestrated by Charles Koechlin and shared the same opening night as Milhaud's La création du monde.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1921
    Age 29
    Porter received few commissions for songs in the years immediately after his marriage. He had the occasional number interpolated into other writers' revues in Britain and the U.S. For a C. B. Cochran show in 1921, he had two successes with the comedy numbers "The Blue Boy Blues" and "Olga, Come Back to the Volga".
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  • 1920
    Age 28
    In 1920, he contributed the music of several songs to the musical A Night Out.
    More Details Hide Details Marriage did not diminish Porter's taste for extravagant luxury. The Porter home on the rue Monsieur near Les Invalides was a palatial house with platinum wallpaper and chairs upholstered in zebra skin. In 1923, Porter came into an inheritance from his grandfather, and the Porters began living in rented palaces in Venice. He once hired the entire Ballets Russes to entertain his house guests, and for a party at Ca' Rezzonico, which he rented for $4,000 a month ($ in current value), he hired 50 gondoliers to act as footmen and had a troupe of tight-rope walkers perform in a blaze of lights. In the midst of this extravagant lifestyle, Porter continued to write songs with encouragement from his wife.
  • 1919
    Age 27
    Meanwhile, Porter's first big hit was the song "Old-Fashioned Garden" from the revue Hitchy-Koo in 1919.
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    They were, moreover, genuinely devoted to each other and remained married from December 19, 1919, until her death in 1954.
    More Details Hide Details Linda remained protective of her social position, and believing that classical music might be a more prestigious outlet than Broadway for her husband's talents, she tried to use her connections to find him suitable teachers, including Igor Stravinsky, but was unsuccessful. Finally, Porter enrolled at the Schola Cantorum in Paris where he studied orchestration and counterpoint with Vincent d'Indy.
  • 1918
    Age 26
    In 1918, he met Linda Lee Thomas, a rich, Louisville, Kentucky-born divorcée eight years his senior.
    More Details Hide Details She was beautiful and well-connected socially; the couple shared mutual interests, including a love of travel, and she became Porter's confidant and companion. The couple married the following year. She was in no doubt about Porter's homosexuality, but it was mutually advantageous for them to marry. For Linda it offered continued social status and a partner who was the antithesis of her abusive first husband. For Porter, it brought a respectable heterosexual front in an era when homosexuality was not publicly acknowledged.
  • 1917
    Age 25
    In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Porter moved to Paris to work with the Duryea Relief organization.
    More Details Hide Details Some writers have been skeptical about Porter's claim to have served in the French Foreign Legion, although the Legion lists Porter as one of its soldiers and displays his portrait at its museum in Aubagne. By some accounts, he served in North Africa and was transferred to the French Officers School at Fontainebleau, teaching gunnery to American soldiers. An obituary notice in The New York Times said that, while in the Legion, "he had a specially constructed portable piano made for him so that he could carry it on his back and entertain the troops in their bivouacs." Another account, given by Porter, is that he joined the recruiting department of the American Aviation Headquarters, but, according to his biographer Stephen Citron, there is no record of his joining this or any other branch of the forces. Porter maintained a luxury apartment in Paris, where he entertained lavishly. His parties were extravagant and scandalous, with "much gay and bisexual activity, Italian nobility, cross-dressing, international musicians and a large surplus of recreational drugs".
  • 1916
    Age 24
    The quick success was immediately followed by failure: his first Broadway production, in 1916, See America First, a "patriotic comic opera" modeled on Gilbert and Sullivan, with a book by T.
    More Details Hide Details Lawrason Riggs, was a flop, closing after two weeks. Porter spent the next year in New York City before going overseas during World War I.
  • 1915
    Age 23
    In 1915, Porter's first song on Broadway, "Esmeralda", appeared in the revue Hands Up.
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  • 1913
    Age 21
    After graduating from Yale, Porter enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1913.
    More Details Hide Details He soon felt that he was not destined to be a lawyer, and, at the suggestion of the dean of the law school, Porter switched to Harvard's music faculty, where he studied harmony and counterpoint with Pietro Yon. Kate Porter did not object to this move, but it was kept secret from J. O. Cole.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1909
    Age 17
    Entering Yale University in 1909, Porter majored in English, minored in music, and also studied French.
    More Details Hide Details He was a member of Scroll and Key and Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and contributed to campus humor magazine The Yale Record. He was an early member of the Whiffenpoofs a cappella singing group and participated in several other music clubs; in his senior year, he was elected president of the Yale Glee Club and was its principal soloist. Porter wrote 300 songs while at Yale, including student songs such as the football fight songs "Bulldog" and "Bingo Eli Yale" (aka "Bingo, That's The Lingo!") that are still played at Yale today. During college, Porter became acquainted with New York City's vibrant nightlife, taking the train to New York City to enjoy dinner, theater, and a night on the town with his classmates, before returning to New Haven, Connecticut, early in the morning. He also wrote musical comedy scores for his fraternity, the Yale Dramat (the Yale dramatic society), and as a student at Harvard – Cora (1911), And the Villain Still Pursued Her (1912), The Pot of Gold (1912), The Kaleidoscope (1913) and Paranoia (1914) – which helped prepare him for a career as a Broadway and Hollywood composer and lyricist.
  • 1905
    Age 13
    J. O. Cole wanted his grandson to become a lawyer, and with that career in mind, he sent him to Worcester Academy in Massachusetts in 1905.
    More Details Hide Details Porter brought an upright piano with him to school and found that music, and his ability to entertain, made it easy for him to make friends. Porter did well in school and rarely came home to visit. He became class valedictorian and was rewarded by his grandfather with a tour of France, Switzerland and Germany.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1891
    Born
    She falsified his recorded birth year, changing it from 1891 to 1893 to make him appear more precocious.
    More Details Hide Details His father, who was a shy and unassertive man, played a lesser role in Porter's upbringing, although as an amateur poet, he may have influenced his son's gifts for rhyme and meter. Porter's father also had musical talent as a vocalist and pianist, but the father-son relationship was not close.
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