Crazy for Gershwin |

Crazy for Gershwin

Cassie Pence

BEAVER CREEK – Kelly Lynn Cosme loves George Gershwin so much she named her orange tabby cat after the composer.Cosme plays Polly Baker in the Gershwin Broadway musical “Crazy For You,” which comes to the Vilar Center of the Arts in Beaver Creek Sunday. She cites his jazzy number “Summertime,” written for his opera “Porgy and Bess,” as her favorite in the Gershwin catalogue. “Summertime” is one of most well-known songs in the world, but you may not have known Gershwin was the one who composed it. There are more than 2,600 known covers of the song.Gershwin had a gift for creating timeless songs that appeal to the masses, as well as music virtuosos. The songwriting team of he and his brother, Ira, helped to raise the popularity of musical theater. Ira writes the lyrics.

“Gershwin had the talent of a really good artist. He wrote symphonic type music, classical music, jazz music, honky-tonk tonk music. So he had the skill but he put a lot of it toward very popular music. So it’s not like he was writing popular music and he was a hack. He’s a consummate musician, but he had a real affinity for popular music,” said Kris Sabel, director of the Vilar Center.”Crazy For You” is considered a “new” Gershwin musical. It won a Tony Award for best musical in 1992. It’s an adaptation of the Gershwin brothers 1930 hit “Girl Crazy.” It’s kind of like “Mama Mia,” a musical built around popular ABBA tunes. Creators packed in Gershwin favorites like “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You,” “Someone To Watch Over You Me,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” and then Ken Ludwig, known for his humor, wrote a story around the songs.”Crazy For You” is classic tale of eastern boy meets western girl. Bobby Child goes to Deadrock, Nev., to foreclose on Polly Baker’s father theater. In the process he falls in love with her, but Polly wants nothing to do with the man responsible for taking away the theater. To win her heart, Bobby gets an idea to save the theater by putting on a show. And so the story unfolds, incorporating humorous bits of mistaken identity, ribald jokes, poignant expressions of East-West characteristics, tap dancing and, of course, some of American’s most cherished songs.

“Polly is a very feisty, headstrong woman. She’s everybody’s rock in the town because she takes care of everyone. What I love about Polly, which I wish I was more of in real life, is how she knows what she wants, and she will do what she needs to do to get it,” said Cosme from her hotel in Wyoming. She said the tour so far is a great success and the positive audience response has been overwhelming, especially toward the number “Someone To Watch Over Me.””Every now and then I can glance into the audience and see a couple just reminiscing about that song. You can see them say, ‘remember when we were young and listened to this song.’ It makes you feel so good that you’re touching these people’s lives and really bringing something very special to them,” said Cosme.The high-energy number is “I Got Rhythm,” where all 25 cast members appear on stage to dance and sing.”The ensemble is a big part of the show, especially the Follies Girls, they’re great,” said Cosme.

The cast has also been raising money for the tsunami relief effort while on tour. They will go around with a “boot” asking for donations and will also be auctioning off the musical poster. It gives the audience a chance to mingle with the cast and ask them questions.To purchase tickets, call 845-TIXS.

Shall We Dance?”Crazy For You”7:30 p.m. SundayVilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek

For tickets, call (970) 845-TIXSArts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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