Set amongst the rich and famous of Newport, R.I., "High Society" is a romantic comedy that revolves around the wedding plans of pretentious socialite Tracy Lord. Just as she is about to marry a stuffy social climber, she is thrown off balance when her ex-husband tries to win her back. Things are further complicated when a tabloid reporter assigned to the wedding also falls for Tracy.
Thursday's production opens the University of Central Oklahoma Music Theatre Department's fall season. Director Greg White described the musical as an unconventional classic with a unique origin.
"The stage version of the musical is based on the classic film 'The Philadelphia Story,' starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, as well as the musical film adaptation, 'High Society,' with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby," White said.
Because the stage version resembles more closely the Hepburn film, White refers to it as "The Philadelphia Story: The Musical," and made efforts for this production to resemble that parent even more than usual.
He paid special care in dealing with the heightened complex dialogue, even consulting the works of Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw to better arm himself for the challenge.
"The Philip Barry text is very stylized, utilizing an enormous amount of subtext. These characters do not always mean what they say," he said. "The text vacillates between a sophisticated, biting wit and a heartbreaking sincerity."
While he may favor "The Philadelphia Story," White doesn't dismiss the impact of Cole Porter's music on the stage version.
"His music is timeless, which is why Michael Bubl