Everything Goes: The Music of Cole Porter (2011)

This time, it’s not just anything — Everything Goes!

February 4-13, 2011
A new generation discovers Cole Porter in SF Arts Education Project’s Players’ new show.

DECEMBER 2010 – At words poetic, he was anything but pathetic. Cole Porter was, to paraphrase the man himself, the top – a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet…he was Mickey Mouse!

Now a whole new generation is reveling in Porter’s brilliance. The San Francisco Arts Education Project Players, a troupe of Bay Area kids ranging in age from 9 to 15, will perform more than 30 of his songs in Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter an original revue having its world premiere Feb. 4-13, 2011 at the Eureka Theater in San Francisco.

SFArtsED Artistic Director Emily Keeler and Danny Duncan, the director of Everything Goes!, usually perform traditional musicals from the Broadway canon, shows like The Pajama Game, The Music Man or last year’s Fiorello. But with 54 kids in this year’s troupe, a book musical was too limiting and wouldn’t give the members of the ensemble enough to do.

So Keeler and Duncan decided to put together an original revue as they had done in 2004 with Secret Sondheim. They realized that in 10 years of doing shows with the Players, they had never done any Cole Porter.

“The sophistication of Porter’s work and his diversity of material really appealed to us,” Keeler says. “Mr. Porter sets the bar pretty high.”

Duncan feels strongly that the kids are up to the challenge of Porter’s complex rhythm and lyrics. “This material can be difficult for adults,” Duncan says. “I knew it would be a challenge for the kids, but a challenge they would inevitably rise to. That’s what this organization does – it exposes kids to the lessons of real musical theater.”

Among the songs being performed are some of Porter’s best known, including “In the Still of the Night” sung a cappella by the entire cast, “Night and Day,” “I Love Paris” and “Begin the Beguine.” The revue also features some lesser-known Porter tunes such as “Live and Let Live” and “Madam, I Love Your Crepes Suzette.”

“Rehearsals have been a great process,” says Keeler, who has been with SFArtsED since 1985. “The kids love the word play, love the music and the humor. They also appreciate the sound and beauty of the music.”

When the entire ensemble was working on “In the Still of the Night,” Duncan, Keeler and Musical Director Diana Lee asked the kids what the song meant to them.

“We asked them what it means to sing, ‘In the still of the night, as I lay without slumber.’ And they got pretty much everything the song is about,” Duncan says. “They understood it’s about life, beauty, subtlety, caring about somebody. This material is really an education for them.”

Anyone who knows Cole Porter’s work knows that he could be, shall we say, mischievous. He was, after all, the poster boy for the swingin’ louche life in ‘30s and ‘40s Manhattan.

“Our selection of songs had to be judicious,” Keeler says. “Beyond that, there are only a couple songs that needed a tweak here and there so they would be appropriate for kids to sing. These kids are all aspiring artists, so there’s already a level of sophistication, but we do spend time talking about the lyrics and the humor. We don’t’ feel we’re giving them anything that is too racy, but it’s just racy enough so they get the experience of the wink and the humor of Porter’s delightful naughtiness.”

Musical Director Lee, working on her fourth show with the Players, sees the young performers embracing Porter’s songs.

“The diversity of his styles is so wonderful – there are hilarious comic songs and these incredibly beautiful love songs,” Lee says. “There’s something to appeal to every kid. Some want to be funny, some want to be dramatic so they all get what they want. I think what they’re really appreciating is how carefully Porter matches lyric to melody. He was just brilliant.”

One of the biggest challenges facing Duncan, Keeler, Lee and the team of choreographers and musicians working with the large group is scheduling rehearsals to accommodate so many numbers and so many kids. While one large ensemble is working in one rehearsal room at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, two other rooms are filled with smaller ensembles or soloists.

During performances at the Eureka, Lee will play piano alongside a band that includes five additional players on bass, drums, saxophone, trumpet and trombone. This is the first Players Cole Porter show and its first shiny brass section.

“We all feel lucky to get to spend this amount of time with Porter’s work,” Keeler says. “He’s a singer’s musician. He really is. Even his melodies tell stories. He’s a fine craftsman, and it’s wonderful to watch the kids learn and inhabit this material. I think it’s teaching things, unconsciously, that they need to learn as artists. We love being around that.”


About SFArtsED

Founded in 1965 (as the Alvarado Arts Workshop) by renowned artist Ruth Asawa, SFArtsED has transformed the lives of children, their families, teachers, artists and volunteers. Programs include SFArtsED Summer Camp, In-School Artists-in-Residence, After-School activities, The SFArtsED Players Musical Theater Company, apprentice programs for college and high school students and public visual art exhibits.

About The SFArtsED Players

The SFArtsED Players is a musical theater company that reflects San Francisco in all its diversity. Hailing from the neighborhoods of the City and from around the bay, the SFArtsED Players is made up of 54 theater performers who come from SFArtsED’s performing arts residencies as well as form the organization’s summer arts intensive, called SFArtsED Summer, held each year at School District sites. The young performers are selected for their talent, enthusiasm and commitment for the musical theater form. They work with directors of the company 10 hours each week, training as “triple threats” – actors, singers, dancers – and rehearsing for their performances. The company performs original musicals and revues as well as Broadway classics. This year’s troupe represents 32 different Bay Area schools, including 18 public schools.

For more information or to set up interviews, photos or a rehearsal visit, please call 415.551.7990, or e-mail chad.j@sfartsed.org. Right click on images below to download.

Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter

FACT SHEETWHATEverything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter
More than 50 young people, ages 9 to 15, create an elegant, swellegant evening of Cole Porter’s greatest songs.WHOThe San Francisco Arts Education PlayersWHEREEureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco, CA 94111WHEN

Feb. 4-13, 2011

  • Friday 2/4 @ 7:00 PM
  • Saturday 2/5 @ 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM*
  • Sunday 2/6 @ 2:00 PM
  • Saturday 2/12 @ 2:00 PM
  • Sunday 2/13 @ 2:00 PM

TICKETS$15 for students and seniors
$20 general admission


* Tickets for the 7:00 PM are $40 and include drinks and
hors d’ouevres as part of the Players’ Family GalaINFOSFArtsED | www.sfartsed.org | 415.551.7990

Another openin’, another show! Rehearsals continue for Everything Goes! Cole Porter would be so proud.

In September 2010, the 54-member Players troupe set their toes a-tappin’ and their voices singing. It’s a super-sized company this year, so they’re taking on the gigantic talents of Cole Porter, one of the foremost authors of the Great American Songbook. The Players are preparing for the February world premiere of Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter. We took our cameras behind the scenes for an inside look at the rehearsal process. The first video offers a sampling of three numbers, “Be a Clown,” “Friendship” and “It’s Too Darn Hot.” The second video features the full company working on “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.”

It’s show time! Curtain rises on Everything Goes!

In the still of the night you can begin the beguine. Or you can buy your tickets to Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter.

To purchase your tickets, simply visit City Box Office by clicking here. Questions? Call us at 415.551.7990.

Here’s another peek behind the scenes of Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter: