Sunday, February 11, 2007

Come Be My Love...Love Spoken Here (The SOB Overview) - Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT

Come Be My Love...Love Spoken Here (The SOB Overview) - Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT

Last evening, I was thrilled to be among the relative few fortunate enough to enjoy one of the loveliest, tastiest confections to come along in a long, long time.

Bigger than the largest chocolate kiss, this mega-bite Valentine was served up at Connecticut's venerable Westport Country Playhouse in the form of romantic poetry written by such giants as Maya Angelou, Noël Coward, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker and William Shakespeare, among others.

What could possibly be any tastier than Come Be My Love...Love Spoken Here, last night's luscious seven course benefit at and for the Westport Country Playhouse. Indeed, the evening’s generous, heaping helpings of amore would have sated practically every kind of lover, including those not typically prone to enjoying liberal portions of the poetic verse.

Come Be My Love was no ordinary interpretation of poems and sonnets. No, what made this brilliant offering of both classic and modern odes to loves -- both requited and otherwise -- so jaw-droppingly spectacular was the way in which the seven stellar cast members made each work come alive with humor, humility, lots of humanity and most of all, heart.

Miraculously amassed for this one-time-only event, Joanna Gleason, Charles Grodin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman, Chris Sarandon and Joanne Woodward offered their own unique, individual voices on the ecstasy and agony that arguably make love life’s ultimate affection. Wow!

To call this breathtaking would be a major understatement. With the megawatt cast’s refrains reverberating throughout the theatre, this audience member was left reeling as though Cupid had shot another arrow through his heart. Alternately laughing and misty-eyed, I couldn’t help but ponder just how truly blessed I am to have found the love of my life, my own true love.

Although it’s a little heartbreaking to know that this night will never again be repeated for wider audiences, this lovely evening will long be remembered by my Valentine and me as we toast how fortunate we are, in life and in love.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 12 February, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it sounds like an enchanted, memorable evening. And I'm not normally a big poetry fan.

So how was it set up? Was the stage bare? Was everyone on stage at the same time? Did they come on one by one or two by two? What did Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward recite? What about Philip Seymour Hoffman? How were they dressed? Did Paul and PSH wear suits? Set the scene a little, please!

And Steve, in all sincerity and from the bottom of my heart, I wish you and the love of your life many, many happy Valentine's Days to come!

At 13 February, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I'm definitely not the type who ordinarily goes for poetry readings, either. But this amazing cast was hard to resist. I'm so glad I went.

The stage was indeed bare save for seven chairs (facing away from the audience), seven music stands and a red motif backdrop. All seven actors took to the stage at once.

While the performance began and ended with all seven reading different verses from the same poems, they alternately allowed for the three couples (two married, one not) to be in the spotlight: Chris Sarandon and Joanna Gleason (married), Charles Grodin and Eartha Kitt (not married), and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (married). Those readings were intermingled with readings that involved all of the women at once and all of the men at once. Anytime the actors were not performing, they would take their seats and face away from the audience to keep the focus on the actors who were reading.

Sadly, since I'm not an avid poetry fan, I can't tell you with any specificity who read which poems. In fact the only poem I readily recognized was Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" read beautifully by Eartha Kitt.

Most of the actors were nattily attired in jackets and slacks(Hoffman was the exception here). Hope that gave you a little more depth than my overview did.

Happy Valentine's Day!

At 13 February, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve. I can definitely picture it now!


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