A one-night-only production of American composer Cole Porter's variety show The Ambassador Revue is set to be staged in New York, 85 years after it debuted in Paris, France. The original 1929 show featured singers like Morton Downey and Evelyn Hoey performing a collection of Porter tunes, but the production closed after a few months and the tracks were never heard outside of Europe.
The songwriter went on to return to the U.S. and find fame with hits like I Get a Kick Out of You from Broadway musical Anything Goes, What Is This Thing Called Love from Wake Up and Dream, and one of his most popular releases, Night and Day, which was covered by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Eartha Kitt, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
The revue songs were long thought lost until musical theatre historian Ken Bloom and bandleader Vince Giordano discovered the missing compositions in an archive at Universal Music's offices in Milan, Italy, and tunes like Boulevard Break and Blue Hours were heard in a revived production in Paris in 2012.
Now the pair is taking The Ambassador Revue to the Big Apple, where Porter fans will be treated to a collection of 'lost' tracks with singers, tap dancers and showgirls taking part in the one-off show at The Town Hall in New York on 27 June (14).
Former The Dukes of Hazzard star Tom Wopat will star, while Bloom will direct and Giordano, who arranged the show, will perform with his band the Nighthawks.
Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.