By: Paulanne Simmons
Although songwriter Cole Porter was born into wealth and raised by a doting mother, he was not destined for a happy life. First, he realized at an early age that he was gay, when gays had not yet received the acceptance and rights
they have today. But even worse, while he was still in his forties, he was
seriously injured in a horse-riding accident and left crippled for the rest of
In her cabaret show, Cocktails with Cole, at Metropolitan Room on Nov. 9,
Leslie Orofino, sang and narrated her way through the major events of Porter’s
life, from his early attempts while still at Yale to his last great musical, Kiss
Me Kate. She walked onstage dressed in diamonds and fur, totally ready for
cocktails and even sipped a drink or two, never bothering to take off her long
Orofino was backed by a three-piece band, with Dmitri Kolesnik on bass, Rex Benincasa on percussion and Daryl Kojak, her musical director, on piano. Many of the
songs they played were familiar: “It’s De-Lovely,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,”
“What Is This Thing Called Love,” “Too Darn Hot.” But there were also a good
number of lesser known songs like “The Laziest Girl in Town,” written for
Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright.
Marlene Dietrich sang the song in the film, and Orofino’s deep sexy voice and
languorous pose certainly make us think of Dietrich, minus the accent.
Cole Porter lived in Paris for many years. And a good deal of his songs have a
french theme: “Give Him The Ooh La La,” “You Don’t Know Paree,” “C’est
Magnifique.” But like Porter, Orofino is much more Manhattan than Paris.
Orofino dedicated Cocktails with Cole to the late cabaret legend, Julie Wilson.
Wilson told Orofino she put a Cole Porter song in each of her shows for good
luck and advised her to do the same. Orofino has now gone a step further,
devoting an entire show to Porter. What a piece of luck for all of us.
Metropolitan Room is at 34 West 22 Street, www.metropolitanroom.com.