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Really digging Cole

The life story of one of America's most influential tunesmiths, Cole Porter, will be presented on stage at Playhouse 19's Red, Hot and Cole.

The play focuses on Porter's life from his early 20s until his death in 1964.

"That's about 50 years," said Jacki Hull, who is both the director and musical director for the play.

Portraying Cole Porter is Peter Abrams, who does most of the singing, aided by Collette Watson, portraying Ethel Merman.

Red, Hot and Cole is set primarily at one of Porter's favorite pastimes, throwing wild parties that often included the top performers of the era.

From time to time, actors will break off to take center stage and sing Cole classics such as I Love Paris, Anything Goes, I Get a Kick Out of You, My Heart Belongs to Daddy.

"It's one big party," Hull said.

The center stage will be a miniset, representing other locales important to Porter's life and music such as New York and Paris.

Most of the cast portray several characters. The cast includes Carol Wygle (soprano, Linda Porter); Rick Gebelein (Clifton Webb, George Kaufman, Noel Coward and four others); Fran Barg (Sara Murphy, Dorothy Parker and Bella Spewack); David Easter (Moss Hart, two others); Jane Vicari (Hedda Hopper, others); Alan Stewart (Monty Woolley, others); Julie Euston (principal dancer and Irene Castle); Bret Mansfield (a young man and Porter's valet, Paul); Kenetra Alexander (Bricktop, two others); Michael Quigley (dancer and photographer); Jaime Stewart (dancer and starlet) and Lynn Beck (a waitress).

_ Jorge Sanchez covers Citrus County arts and entertainment and can be reached at 860-7313 Send e-mail to sanchezsptimes.com.

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