Los Angeles Theater Preview: LOVE, NOËL: THE LETTERS AND SONGS OF NOËL COWARD (The Wallis)

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by Tony Frankel on December 17, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles


Noël Coward would have loved that his name appears twice in Love, Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward, which, having completely sold out its run at the swanky Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, has just been extended. The entertainment interweaves his songs with personal letters sent between him and his famous friends over the years.


Under Jeanie Hackett’s direction, Harry Groener, one of Broadway’s great musical actors, and the fantastic stage and screen actress Sharon Lawrence deliver some of Coward’s most popular ditties—rife with idiosyncratic musical phrasing and shrewd lyrics—including the jaunty “I Like America,” the torchy “Mad About the Boy,” and the bittersweet “If Love Were All,” accompanied by the astute pianist Gerald Sternbach.


Coward authority Barry Day cobbled together a lifetime of merry missives, which highlight Coward’s wit, drollery, sophistication, joy, kindness, imperturbability, and, as Marlene Dietrich wrote, intelligence and brain food. With letters to and from literati (Virginia Woolfe), and luminaries of stage (Elaine Stritch) and screen (Greta Garbo, who asked Noël to be her “little bride”), you’ll feel as if you are vicariously in the theatre or globetrotting with the chattering classes.


The Lovelace Studio black box theatre has been transformed into a sumptuous nightclub, with linen-covered tables and dimly lit Art Deco fixtures. You can arrive early for cocktails and light fare (while well-dressed, surreptitious servers wait on you), but imbibing is not compulsory. The only necessity is that you get seats ASAP, as there are only three performances for the extension through December 28, 2014.

photos by Kevin Parry

Love, Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward
Lovelace Studio Theater
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills
ends on December 28, 2014
for tickets, call 310-746-4000 or visit www.thewallis.org

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