COURTESY DAVID ALLENFrom left

COURTESY DAVID ALLENFrom left

Cole Porter goes down easy in 42nd Street Moon's 'Something for the Boys’

Cole Porter’s 1943 “Something for the Boys” was a big hit on Broadway, featuring Ethel Merman and providing welcome amusement to wartime audiences. A year later, it had a successful film version with Carmen Miranda, Phil Silvers and Perry Como. Then it virtually disappeared, until it became one of 42nd Street Moon's early hits, 20 years ago.

Now it's back as one of the San Francisco theater company's anniversary revivals, and under Daniel Witzke's direction, it's a pleasant, amusing period piece, although it doesn’t have Porter’s usual hit parade – despite the title song, “Could It Be You?” and “Hey, Good-Looking.”

Written by brother-sister team Dorothy and Herbert Fields, it has a fairly complicated and yet inconsequential story, unlike the Fields’ excellent books for “South Pacific” and “Flower Drum Song,” among others.

Opening in a USO setting (with Abby Sammons, Eliza Leoni and Victoria Stewart Davis) serenading the audience, the story slowly brings together three strangers who are distantly related and share in a totally unexpected inheritance – a Texas mansion.

Blossom Hart (Heather Orth), a machinist who hears radio signals through carborundum in her tooth fillings, Chiquita Hart (Dyan McBride), a flamboyant showgirl, and Harry Hart (Brian Herndon), a somewhat shady pitchman, end up in Texas, where they try to figure out what to do with the crumbling mansion.

They decide to restore the building to serve as a guest house for wives of the military, but there are many complications, especially with Army band leader Rocky Fulton (Tyler McKenna), the object of Blossom's desire. He is already engaged to Melanie (the repurposed Leoni), spoiled and trouble-making daughter of a senator. And so it goes until all is resolved.

The production comes together well, resulting from smooth direction by Witzke, authentic period costumes by Felicia Lilienthal, lively choreography by Staci Arriaga, and music direction and piano accompaniment by Dave Dobrusky (supported on woodwinds by Nick Di Scala).

Unlike similar small venues, the Eureka Theatre remains free of amplification and oices and instruments are unaided by electronics, thanks to Moon co-directors Greg MacKellan and Stephanie Rhoads. It’s an old-fashioned pleasure to listen to the music, rather than be overwhelmed by it, and 42nd Street Moon provides such an experience that’s all too rare these days.

REVIEW

Something for the Boys

Presented by 42nd Street Moon

Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F.

When:7 p.m. Wednedays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 6 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays; closes Dec.14

Tickets: $25 to $75

Contact: (415) 255-8207, www.42ndStMoon.org

42nd Street MoonartsCole PorterSomething for the Boys

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Blue California often is the target of criticism by conservative media, but now is receiving critical attention from liberal writers. Pictured: The State Capitol. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Why is California now being criticized from the left?

California being what it is – a very large state with a… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read