Was introduced to the world in “Wake Up and Dream” (December 1929). This revue with 24 sets, 500 costumes, a large international cast, and “a thread of a book” garnered only mixed reviews. While The New Yorker characterized it as “one of the dullest revues ever put on the local boards”, the influential, contemporary critic Walter Winchell praised it and the song “What is This Thing Called Love” in particular. “Looking at You” is another number which has weathered the test of time (see my post 12/3/17). Unfortunately, “Wake Up” (263 performances) became a “victim” of the stock market crash as Broadway shows were shunned once stock prices plunged.
What I find most striking about “I’m a Gigolo” is not the music (clever but somewhat forgettable) but the droll, even tragic, lyrics that brilliantly depict a scene, which is even indirectly autobiographical. Porter defines a man:
“whose nature has in it a dash of lavender”
And who is fated to find himself “next to some dowager who’s wealthy rather than passionate”. A gay escort “stretching his braces Pushing ladies with lifted faces ‘round the floor” He “gets stocks and bonds From faded blondes Ev’ry twenty-fifth of December.” Yet when he gets home he’s faced with the fact that “he’s just a pet That men forget And only tailors remember”
Here are two clever renditions of this witty ditty by Eric Yves Garcia (at Feinstein’s) and William Hickey.