Cole Porter (1891-1964)




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Fred Miller´s Lecture-in-Song on Cole Porter is the story of the rich Indiana farmboy turned international sophisticate. A musical F. Scott Fitzgerald, he found his unique niche as in-house diarist for his own Cafe Society world. During his years abroad, expatriate socialite Porter had no economic incentive to take on the headaches of Broadway. However, once back from Europe and eager to work, he quickly emerged as one of the great song craftsmen of his era, producing such beguiling standards as “Let´s Do It,” “You Do Something To Me,” “Night and Day,” “Anything Goes,” “You´re The Top, ” “De-Lovely,” “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Love For Sale,” “So In Love.” Typical of the time, he created most of his best songs for Broadway & Hollywood: GAY DIVORCE, JUBILEE, CAN-CAN, SILK STOCKINGS, ANYTHING GOES, KISS ME, KATE, and HIGH SOCIETY, the latter a film musical version of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY.

Porter´s life was a lively canvas of broad contrasts: unlimited privilege, wealth, glamor, talent, celebrity, a life one friend wryly described as lived “beyond good and evil.” This charmed youthful existence stands in stark contrast to the latter part of his life cruelly marred by a freak riding accident that left him permanently crippled. Fortunately, his creativity prevailed over constant pain, and his later years were some of his most productive. The huge successes of KISS ME, KATE (1949) and CAN-CAN (1953) literally gave him reason to live; and live, travel, carouse and create he continued to do.

A classic Jazz Age figure of triumph and tragedy, the Porter legacy continues to occupy a place in every serious singer´s repertoire. For such an unbridled hedonist, Cole Porter managed to live a thoroughly worthwhile life.

If you would like to engage Fred Miller for one of his Lectures-in-Song, please contact him directly at any time. For a full listing of all Lectures, click here.

Fred Miller’s Lectures-In-Song comprise a series of solo programs, each an historical, anecdotal and musical profile of some great personality or important aspect of American Popular Song. These Lectures are delivered by singer/pianist/narrator Miller at the piano, and each reflects his lifetime passion and appreciation for great music. He studied classical piano in his hometown of Albuquerque from ages 7-15 but early on gave up any notion of music as a profession. At that time, Fred assumed a musical career was either one devoted to the rigid discipline of classical music or being a freewheeling rock star, and he accurately decided he had no aptitude for either. However, at age 22, upon hearing Ella Fitzgerald sing Cole Porter, he found his calling and life’s mission.

Through the Seventies and Eighties, Miller studied and absorbed in minute detail the life and times and songs of nearly all the great American composers and lyricists who thrived during Broadway & Hollywood’s Golden Age between the two World Wars. In 1987, he founded Silver Dollar Productions in order to produce operettas, dramas, musicals and small cabarets. Silver Dollar Productions required ensemble casts, props, costumes and, most significantly, the challenges of publicity and selling tickets, and for a dozen busy years, the company presented an unbroken string of varied and highly lauded performances.

In 1999, Miller was simultaneously underwritten by both his local Hunterdon County Library and the Art Alliance of Philadelphia to present a series of six solo Lectures-In-Song, each devoted to one of the premiere Broadway/Hollywood songwriters: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.

In presenting history, biography and psychology while sitting at a piano singing the superlative songs of his heroes, Miller has found a single performing medium that utilizes most of his intellectual and musical passions.The list of Lectures-In-Song that began with six in 1999 is now more than seventy(and growing!), a joyful tribute to the boundlessly rich field of American Popular Song.