A Marvelous Party

Noël Coward is known for his plays, wit, and lavish lifestyle. What many forget—outside geeky musical-theater circles—is that he was also a brilliant songwriter. Thirty-four of his greatest hits are compiled in the revue A Marvelous Party, a perfect choice for a) oldsters who complain that music just isn’t the same anymore, and b) Gay Pride revelers looking to expand their tastes beyond Seattle Men’s Chorus. Coward’s bouncing, whimsical melodies and cheeky, satirical lyrics make his songs just as enjoyable and accessible to audiences today as they were before World War II. The show also includes skits and monologues celebrating Coward’s undeniably fabulous and undeniably queer life. A close friend of Winston Churchill, Princess Margaret, Judy Garland, and Laurence Olivier, Coward (1899-1973) also worked as a Secret Service agent during the war, and wrote and acted in several films. He was an all-around showbiz entrepreneur long before J. Lo tried to sing or Diddy invented the remix. Party features four Seattle stage powerhouses: Mark Anders (who appeared in last year’s Souvenir at ACT), comedic favorite David Silverman, Anna Lauris, and Richard Grey. [See review here.] ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, www.acttheatre.org. $37.50. Usually 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs, 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. Sun., plus some weekend matinees; see Web site for exact schedule. FRANK PAIVA

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: June 13. Continues through July 13, 2008

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