It must have been far easier for the National World War II Museum to pick Cole Porter as the first songwriter to celebrate in its new songbook series than it was for director Banu Gibson to cull a list of 18 tunes from his many hits and hundreds of songs. But the 90-minute musical, work premiering this week at BB’s Stage Door Canteen, includes the classics “Night & Day,” “Anything Goes,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “It’s De-lovely” and many more.
“I am personally really drawn to his work from the 1920s and 1930s,” Gibson says. “Plenty of songwriters were writing about falling in love. Cole was writing about falling in lust. Other people were saying, ‘Let’s fall in love,’ Cole was saying, ‘Let’s do it.’”
In Gibson’s musical, a newspaper writer tasked with composing an obituary on the day of Porter’s death in 1964 finds herself reminiscing about her favorite songs and the paper’s social pages to try to capture his life’s work. As fellow writers recall their favorites, the cast brings them to life.
Gibson may be familiar to local audiences for leading a band focused on early jazz standards, but her resume includes theatrical work and singing from the American songbook. Gibson has sung with the Boston Pops and produced musical works for Disney, including productions of “Damn Yankees” and “Oliver.”
The songbook musical features Harry Mayronne at the piano.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Sept. 6-7, 13-14 and 20; 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8-29. The National World War II Museum, BB’s Stage Door Canteem, 945 Magazine St., (504) 528-1943; www.nationalww2museum.org. Tickets $33.51-$38.30 for the show only; dinner and brunch seatings available.
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