Off Broadway Reviews
Anticipating a relaxing evening of Cole Porter tunes, Stan and I strolled over to Confidentially, Cole, a review starring Sean Hayden which is playing a special limited engagement at the Triad Theater. The relaxing part of the evening was not to be. We had missed the sub-heading: "A provocative musical experience." And I, for one, was definitely provoked.
Sean Hayden has worked with heartfelt care on this production. He obviously loves these songs and attempts to elicit every underlying meaning, pun and double entendre in the lyrics regarding Cole Porter's homosexual longings. Hayden is also a very attractive fellow, so a mini-tasteful striptease is included for visual effect. There are several costume changes that are apparently supposed to suggest multiple characters, however, since every song is performed on the same level of intensity, it becomes very difficult to appreciate differences in the personalities portrayed.
Fortunately, for those who find the name Dick and the phrase "a large cup" hilarious, there is plenty of humor. Unfortunately, for others, the performance is so emotional that almost all the famous Porter wit seems lost under its heavy burden. Mr. Hayden's biography states that he is studying acting with Betty Buckly. There is no question that he incorporates her emotional style in his work. At our performance, his last number seemed to grip him with such a passion I actually worried that he might fall onto the amplification system
Perhaps a sub-heading of "Cole Porter meets Rent" would be useful. Every tune is over amplified and arranged to fit into virtually any new rock musical on Broadway. Every lyric is imbued with extraordinary intensity and heartbreak. Did you think Cole Porter's songs were witty, urbane, intelligent, peppy and slightly cynical? Forget it! We now know the hidden content and it seems that all he really had in mind was a series of torch songs. If you like your Porter hot, over wrought, loud, sexy and gay, then this is the show for you.