Scribes and songsmiths
From “Let’s Do It” to “You’re the Top,” Porter’s double-entendres have never ceased to tease and delight with their wit and sophistication. The “Red Hot & Blue” LP tribute to Porter in 1990 underlined the timelessness of his music and the ease with which contemporary artists made him their own. Broadway first knew Porter as a librettist with his book for “See America First,” which featured a very young Clifton Webb, in 1916. In the following years, Fred Astaire, Mary Martin and Alfred Drake sang his songs in legit shows, and his “Anything Goes” and “Panama Hattie” were star vehicles for Ethel Merman. The Porter masterwork, “Kiss Me, Kate,” gave Shakespeare a whole different spin. De-Lovely, indeed.