Forget people banging on about going to see Rufus Wainwright’s opera at Sadlers Wells in the next couple of weeks; the real hot ticket comes courtesy of Lost Musicals performing ‘Paris’ in the accompanying Lillian Bayliss Studio.
Run by Ian Marshall Fisher, Lost Musicals is a brilliant project. It is designed to find and stage musicals which have been ‘lost’, either literally or in memories, by some of America’s greatest songwriters. Over the last 21 years, the project has staged over 70 different works and does so with the help of actors who give their time for free as well as researchers and Ian himself who trawls the world looking for songs that have been mislaid so he can reconstruct the shows.
I’m a massive Cole Porter fan and last year, Lost Musical’s staging of The New Yorkers first introduced me to their project. The show takes place on Sunday afternoons with actors in evening wear, on a stage with neither a set nor props, reading from their scripts. It’s a very unusual style to watch but utterly captivating.
This year, one of their three shows is another Cole Porter show and I caught it last weekend. Not quite as sharp and lively as ‘The New Yorkers’, ‘Paris’ was Porter’s first Broadway show and revolves around a marriage between an American socialite and a French actress. It’s the show which features possibly Porter’s most famous song ‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)’ and showcases his brilliant rhyming wit that really shines in later songs like ‘You’re The Top’. The show is really stolen by the socialite’s mother, Cora, who at Lost Musicals was played by ‘er off the tele’, Anne Reid, probably best known to me as Doctor Who monster, the Plasmavore, who enjoyed sucking people’s blood with a straw.
The Lost Musicals series is totally recommended and I think now a firm spring outing each year in the diary. Paris runs for three more weeks and it’s followed later in the year by Lerner & Loewe’s ‘The Day Before Spring’.