Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Mexican Hayride

Cole Porter and Herbert & Dorothy Fields
Lost Musicals
Lilian Baylis Studio
(2011)

Mexican Hayride

Ian Marshall Fisher has been staging Lost Musicals for over 19 years and in that time he has directed over 70 concert performances.

There are some musicals which are more forgotten than others. Cole Porter’s Mexican Hayride hasn’t been seen since Michael Todd’s lavish production on Broadway in 1944.

Now revived for the first time it is painfully obvious why. The book by brother and sister, Herbert and Dorothy Fields, is terrible. The musical was later turned into a film for Abbott and Costello, which they didn’t want to do. Strangely, not one of Porter’s songs was used.

Porter’s witty and sophisticated lyrics were, with the notable exception of Kiss Me Kate, always better than the trivial shows they were in. Mexican Hayride was primarily a vehicle for Bobby Clark and June Havoc.

Clark, a popular vaudeville star, played a con man who was on the run from the FBI and various women, including his wife, and travelled to Mexico where he ran an illegal lottery. The dialogue sounds as if it were written with Groucho Marx in mind.

June Havoc, younger sister of Gypsy Rose Lee, played a female bull-fighter. The show ran for a year. The most popular song was I Love You which went on to become a US Number 1 record when Bing Crosby sang it.

Michael Roberts and Louise Gold in the Bobby Clark and June Havoc roles work very hard. It’s an uphill struggle. One of the better moments is when Gold sings There Must Be Someone For Me, one of those Porter list lyrics, which were his trademark.

Performances on Sundays July 24, 31 at 4pm and Sunday August 7 at 1.30pm and 4.45pm

Reviewer: Robert Tanitch