BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
The ads trumpet Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, but read the small print: Two of Broadway’s top musical stars — Kelli O’Hara and Jason Danieley — will sing the songs of Cole Porter Saturday night at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
“He was so witty, and his songs are so funny,” says O’Hara, who earned a Tony nomination for her performance as Ensign Nellie Forbush in the hit 2009 Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific.
Danieley, who co-starred as Lt. Joe Cable in the 2006 South Pacific in Concert from Carnegie Hall, describes Porter’s songs as “ingenious.”
“They’re deceptively simple. They seem to be simple lyrics and they are. For listeners they seem like, oh, that was an easy rhyme. But his double-entendres make it so much more sophisticated,” Danieley says.
Porter (1891-1964) was gay and married for years to a woman. He wrote words and music for such classic shows as Anything Goes, Can-Can and Kiss Me, Kate. His songs include Night and Day, Love For Sale and Tom, Dick or Harry.
Even modern, sophisticated audiences often need to listen several times to Porter’s lyrics before they get the risqué meanings. “The gift that keeps on giving,” jokes Danieley, who co-starred in the 2000 Broadway production of The Full Monty.
The stars say they are good friends in real life. O’Hara is married to actor-musician Greg Naughton; Danieley’s wife is musical theater star Marin Mazzie.
O’Hara, who starred as the daughter Clara in 2005’s The Light in the Piazza and with Harry Connick Jr. in the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game, says it’s a different experience performing a book musical rather than a concert. “One allows you the parameters of the character you’re playing; this allows me to sing it the way I feel,” she says.
Danieley agrees: “I like doing a book musical on Broadway because you have a chance to delve into the character and the story. In a concert you have a chance to dig into yourself.”
IF YOU GO
Kelli O'Hara, Jason Danieley and Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra perform 8 p.m. Saturday at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Available tickets range from $50 to $100. Click here for tickets or more information.