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Noel and Gertie
a Musical
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by Sheridan Morley

COMPANY : Theatre Decatur [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Theatre Decatur [WEBSITE]
ID# 1611

SHOWING : April 27, 2006 - May 21, 2006

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A triumph in London, this witty and moving show tells of the friendship between two of the twentieth century’s greatest stage personalities: Gertrude Lawrence and Noel Coward.

Noel Coward had a great many loves in his life, but his most enduring affair of the mind and heart was with the actress Gertrude Lawrence, whom he met when they were both child players touring the English provinces. He thought the 14-year-old Gertie was vivacious and had a quicksilver talent; she found him enormously affected and condescending. A best-friendship was immediately struck, and the rest is show business legend.

In Gertie, Mr. Coward found a sparkling, lifelong muse. He wrote many of his wittiest plays (Private Lives, Tonight at 8:30, Blithe Spirit) so they could perform them together. In Noel, Gertie found a supportive friend for life (his telegrams to her alone were a priceless legacy) and someone who understood her unique and restless talent. Together, they were an impeccable team, a writer and an actress who actually savored each other's company on and off stage.

Noel and Gertie features many of the most popular scenes from Coward's work, including the balcony scene from Private Lives, and extracts from Blithe Spirit, Brief Encounter and his hilarious homage to vaudeville Red Peppers. It also features more than a dozen musical numbers from Coward's extensive cannon ranging from the tender romanticism of Someday I'll Find You and I'll See You Again to the corrugating wit of Mrs Worthington and Why Must the Show Go On?

Although Coward’s music may not be familiar to many these days, this show is a wonderfully entertaining way to experience and enjoy the work of one of the 20th century’s great entertainers – a magical glimpse into a lost world of cocktails, chic dress, witty repartee, and ultra-sophisticated talent and taste.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Jeffery Brown
Music Director Kevin Sanders
Wig design George Deavours
Lighting design Tom Gillespie
Set design Clint Horne
Costume design Clint Horne
Stage Manager Laura Nagle
Pianist Kevin Sanders
Noel Patrick Schambach
Gertie Karen Whitaker
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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A New Noel Coward Fan
by Witty Fool
Thursday, May 11, 2006
4.0
I have visited theaterreview.com for the past year but have never felt compelled to review a show until now, based upon the lack of reviews for this show.

I really enjoyed this production of Noel & Gertie. Highlights of the show were "Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington", "Parisian Pierrot" and "Someday I'll Find You." Karen Whitaker is one of the most talented actors I've seen here in Atlanta and she's a joy to watch on stage. She switches from ridiculously goofy to gorgeous and elegant at the drop of a sailor hat. I was particularly impressed that she managed to capture an old hollywood style of singing for this role as opposed to a more contemporary theater style. I've seen her in other roles and she clearly worked her voice to accommodate the character. Patrick Shambach did a great job with his lispy British accent and monotone talk-like singing. The music was captivating and I was never much of a Noel Coward fan until I saw this production.

The only downside of the show was the set design. It was sparse and while I don't mind a conservative set, it seemed like an afterthought. It was actually surprising given the quality of the music and acting in general. So much care had obviously been given to other aspects of the show's design- it would have been nice to see more effort in that direction.

The story of Noel and Gertie is one of a developing relationship and not a particular event. If you are looking to be entertained by a lot of action and Broadway stunts then this is not the show for you. However, this is a beautiful, poignant story. My applause to the directors, cast and crew. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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