Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble's hit production of Cole Porter's Fifty Million Frenchmen returns to the New York stage this week, for seven performances only: Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. (preview); Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. (opening); Sunday, Jan. 20 at 4 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. (closing). The theatre is at 549 W. 52nd St., 3rd Floor, at 11th Ave., NY, NY 10019, subway C/E 50th St.
Medicine Show staged the production this past October and November to rave reviews. Curtain Up's Elizabeth Ahlfors called it "pure silliness... non-stop frivolity, neatly controlled by director Barbara Vann." Ahlfors also called the choreography "catchy," adding Fifty Million Frenchmen had "those delightful, de-lovely Cole Porter tunes." After seeing the show, Will Friedwald of The Wall Street Journal tweeted that it was a "spirited production of that Cole Porter gem," and gave a nod to cast member Cari Bell.
In addition to directing, Obie-winner Vann joins Bell in the cast, along with original cast members: Jarrod Bates, Mark J. Dempsey, Beth Griffith, Richard Gross, Michael Levi Harris, Maria Hoffmann, EVan Kaplan, Richard Keyser, Gulshan Mia, Paul Murphy, Eva Nicole, Marvin Riggins, and Becca Shimkin. Returning musical director Bob Goldstone is well-known as pianist for Broadway's Evita and for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Music and lyrics are by Porter, the book is by Herbert Fields.
Fifty Million Frenchmen revolves around an American millionaire in Paris who, on a bet, woos a young woman while pretending to be penniless. Opening on Broadway a month after the 1929 stock market crash, it was designed to be enormous fun. The show is both ahead of and a reflection of its time, it includes a gay couple and points out the racism of the era. While hilarious throughout, this production does not shy away from any of it. The title refers to a hit song, not by Cole Porter, called Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong.
Tickets are $18.00 for general admission, $14.00 for seniors and students. Tickets are available from Smarttix at www.Smarttix.com or (212) 868-4444. Group rates are available by calling the theatre directly at (212) 262-4216. For more information, log onto the company's website at www.MedicineShowTheatre.org.