NOEL, COLE AND BART

CitySearch (on the Internet)
By Roy Sander

A luscious soprano with a delicious sense of humor, KT Sullivan has starred on Broadway and performed in New York's top night spots. For this engagement, she sings the songs of Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and Bart Howard. She performs Coward's comic numbers to a fare-thee-well; her medley of "World Weary" and "Weary of It All" is especially hilarious, and she mines more laughs from Coward's rather naughty lyrics to Porter's "Let's Do It" than anyone else I've ever heard do them. She also delivers fine interpretations of a few of Coward's less frivolous songs ("Sail Away," "Mad About the Boy," "I'll See You Again"). The Porter songs include some very funny numbers, plus she does a beautiful job on "So In Love," and her exquisitely delicate rendition of "Wunderbar" is exceptional. Sullivan has a special affinity for Bart Howard's material (she won a 1998 Back Stage Bistro Award for her performance and recording of his work). Among the Howard selections are his enduring classic "Fly Me to the Moon," the lovely "Perfect Stranger," an affecting pairing of "Walk Up" and "Year After Year," and the witty and life-celebrating "It Was Worth It," which he wrote for Mabel Mercer's 50th birthday. Sullivan has done many fine shows; this is one of her best. With admirable support from Wes McAfee on piano and John Loehrke on bass.

WLIM-1580AM
By Roy Sander
Delivered live January 7, 1999 6:30pm; re-broadcast January 8, 1999 4:45pm.

At the FireBird Café on West 46th Street, soprano KT Sullivan is doing a show called Noel, Cole, and Bart (that's Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and Bart Howard). Using their last names, it could have been called Coward, Howard, and Porter; either way, you get only two names that rhyme, but you get an hour of terrific music by three superb songwriters, performed by one of my favorite singers. Whenever I talk or write about KT Sullivan, I find myself using the words luscious and delicious. She looks great, and she has a beautiful voice and an absolutely delightful sense of humor; and this Noel, Cole, and Bart show is one of her best ever. In the Noel Coward selections, KT focuses mainly on Coward's comic side, and she performs them to a fare-thee-well. Her medley of "World Weary" and the less familiar "Weary of It All" is especially hilarious, and her rendition of Coward's rather naughty lyrics to Cole Porter's "Let's Do It" is the best I've heard. But she also delivers fine interpretations of the more serious "Mad About the Boy" and "I'll See You Again." The Cole Porter songs include some very funny numbers, plus she does a beautiful job on "So In Love," and her exquisitely delicate rendition of "Wunderbar" is exceptional. Bart Howard is, of course, best known for the standard "Fly Me to the Moon," but he's written many other marvelous songs, and KT has a special affinity for his material. (In fact, she won a Bistro Award from Back Stage newspaper last year for her performance and recording of his work.) Among the Bart Howard selections in the show are a lovely song called "Perfect Stranger," an affecting pairing of "Walk Up" and "Year After Year," and there's a song called "It Was Worth It," which Bart wrote for Mabel Mercer on her 50th birthday. Many more singers should be doing his songs. The show runs through January 23, with performances Tuesdays-Thursdays at 9, Fridays and Saturdays at 9 and 11. The cover charge is $30, plus there's a two-drink minimum, which is waived if you have dinner at the adjacent FireBird restaurant. The FireBird is on 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. For reservations, phone (212) 586-0244.

New York Observer
January 18, 1999
On the Town with Rex Reed

By Rex Reed

In her sparkling new act at the merlot-colored Firebird Café, vivacious KT Sullivan, Oklahoma’s pride and joy, proves what a long way from Will Rogers’ plains she’s come.  The show is called “Noel, Cole and Bart” and is, quite naturally, a cornucopia of prime, patrician songs by Messrs. Coward, Porter and Howard.  These are the kinds of songs Mabel Mercer used to sing – the finely crafted pearls of great wit, intelligence and musical sophistication I used to hear in rooms like L’Intrigue, R.S.V.P. and the Blue Angel.  Mabel is gone now and the memory grows dim, but Ms. Sullivan keeps the flame at her altar burning brightly.  She’s not old enough in years to remember how privileged New Yorkers were to sit around in exalted clusters at 2 A.M. listening and learning from Mabel about the art of song.  But Ms. Sullivan is quite prepared in terms of compassion, enthusiasm and good taste.  From Howard’s piercing “Walk-Up” and “It Was Worth It,” a raspberry to growing old that he wrote for Mabel’s 50th birthday, to Noel Coward’s hilarious 1945 obscurity “That Is the End of the News,” you are in for some delicious surprises.

Sitting through the peculiar individualities of these three cherished tunesmiths, Ms. Sullivan finds amazing parallels and similarities.  This sleuthing pays off in the alternative lyrics Porter and Coward wrote for “Let’s Do It.”  It’s an even toss as to which composer was more clever.  And Howard’s “Who Besides You” inspired by Gertrude Lawrence, could easily have been penned by either Coward or Porter.  Noel’s jaded style is perfectly represented by “World Weary” and “Weary of It All,” both introduced by Bea Lillie, belying the fact that this lonely, tortured man was not, as the songs suggest, surrounded by smoke and parties and empty laughter between naps.

As curvaceous as she is kittenish, Ms. Sullivan sashays her fanny and bats her eyes like a pubescent Mae West trying to find the ladies room, too myopic to find her way but too proud to ask for directions.  She kids sex like an undulating, thumb-sucking Lolita, but she knows exactly what she’s doing musically, rhyming an entire glossary of medical terms of Porter’s “The Physician” with physiological delight, then breaking your heart on Howard’s “Perfect Stranger.”  The heart that beats within her bra has an obvious fondness for songs that are unusual and underexposed, but she’s not unfamiliar with the tried and true – Howard’s “Fly Me to the Moon” is prominently featured with historical footnotes.  Ditto Coward’s “Mad About the Boy” and a vibrant melody from Porter’s score for Kiss Me, Kate.  She’s running through Jan. 23.  Catch her before she runs away.  You’ll be ever so glad you did.

New York Post
January 1999
By Chip Deffaa

Sullivan's tribute to Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and Bart Howard sparkles brightly...one of cabaret's finest.

San Francisco Bay Times
May 1999
By Gene Price

KT Sullivan is the perfect cabaret chanteuse with Barbara Cook's voice, Marilyn Monroe's aura of sexual innocence, Mabel Mercer's musical intelligence, and the witty innuendo of Mae West... Noel, Coward, and Bart is a clever assemblage of the best of three witty tunesmiths...as good as it gets.

Bay Area Reporter
May 19999
By Jim Van Buskirk

Sullivan has done copious research to create a fascinating and enjoyable journey through songs of Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and Bart Howard (the composer of 'Fly Me To The Moon' and other cabaret treasures).