Turtle Creek Chorale Artistic Director Jonathan Palant on Cole Porter And The Upcoming Season

Categories: Music Notes, Q&A

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Jonathan Palant
The Turtle Creek Chorale's 31th anniversary season is about to come to a close. Last night, at the Meyerson, they performed their final offering, Night and Day: The Music of Cole Porter. But you still have a chance to see the final performance at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Audiences will be treated to a bevy of Porter classics including "Friendship," "Wunderbar," "Let's Do It--Let's Fall In Love," "I Hate Men," and "You're The Top." But they also get the chance to hear special guest and Dallas native Denise Lee, who plays Chandra Hall in Friday Night Lights, do a duet with a marionette diva. Very clever.

The show also boasts a very hot tap-dancing sailor, a car-load of clowns, and confetti shooting out on the audience. When was the last time you got that in a choral concert? Clearly, when it comes to TCC, it's time we all forget everything we associate with traditional choral music.

To find out a little more about the show, we caught up with TCC's hunky Artistic Director Jonathan Palant. Read our Q&A with him after the jump.

How did you come to decide to do a Cole Porter revue?
Cole Porter [was] not only a master songwriter and lyricist, his music is just plain fun and entertaining. There have been only a few composers for which the TCC has dedicated an entire show--George Gershwin, Elton John--and I just knew we could create something very special with Cole's music. His melodies are familiar, his lyrics are funny; his music lends itself perfectly to our members and our audiences.

Where did the ideas for all of the fun stuff in the show come from?
I'd love to take all the credit, but our chorus and staff are all geniuses! One person says, "Let's do this!" Then another adds to it and another and another, and before you know it we have our show! Michael Serrecchia, our choreographer is one outstanding talent. He knows how to edit and edit some more to make all the pieces fit in like a puzzle. There is never an extra piece, nor is there a piece missing. That's Michael's genius.

Is TCC always up for that sort of stuff or do they sometimes think you've gone off your rocker a bit?
Quite the contrary. I think we need to do even more off-the-rocker routines. A pie to the face is funny no matter who gets hit or how it's used. The challenge is to find shtick that is really funny and not gratuitous. I think we hit the mark on this show. It's plain ol' fun.

What should audiences expect from this show?
This show is like going to see a classic comic movie from the 1940s. It's G-rated humor that allows you to escape from reality for a couple of hours. Audiences can sit back, relax, laugh, enjoy the beautiful sounds of the Turtle Creek Chorale, and if they come away knowing just a little more about one of America's most beloved and prolific songwriters, than we've scored a home run. It's certainly not meant to be a history lesson, but we do include just a little perspective on Cole and his life.

If someone's never been to a Chorale show, what can they expect?
This is the perfect show for a first-timer. Audiences will hear the lush sound of the chorus, appreciate the art that is choral music and be entertained. This is also a great show for your kids and your parents. There is something for everyone in this show. There's tap dancing, costumes, balloons, confetti, famous Broadway melodies and, of course, 150 men in tuxedos.

In doing this revue did you discover anything about Porter that you didn't already know?
The obvious response would be that I learned many new songs. The less obvious response would be that I'd want to have been friends with him. He's simply brilliant, witty, funny and just a tad on the perverted side. I can see us having Friday afternoon cocktails together talking worldly issues and laughing into the wee hours of the night. This is what we try to convey in our concert as well.

What can folks expect from the Chorale in the upcoming season?
Our 32nd concert season is going to be amazing. One season subscription gains you entry to hear us perform Handel's masterful Messiah; the most loved concert in Dallas, our holiday show; a really innovative pairing of Madonna and songs about the Madonna in March; and, finally, the one I'm most excited about, a concert with the United States Army Chorus from Washington, D.C. For that one, the honorary chair is former First Lady Laura Bush. It's going to be an outstanding season.

Tickets for Night and Day: The Music of Cole Porter range from $27 to $65. Call 214- 526-3214 or visit turtlecreek.org.



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