Lincoln Mayorga

Look back at amazing catalog, Cole Porter’s earliest musical

Cole Porter’s debut musical, See America First, received its premiere performance at Schenectady’s Van Curler Opera House in 1915, prior to stops in Albany, Rochester, New Haven, Conn. and Providence, R.I.

It didn’t linger long after its March 1916 opening in New York, but it did establish Porter as a new Broadway force.

A wise Proctors patron recently pointed out the chronological and geographical coincidences of its Schenectady origins, and now the downtown arts center, in collaboration with Lincoln Mayorga and Sheri Bauer-Mayorga and friends, is celebrating the centennial of See America First with a new musical program.

A Century of Cole Porter is at the GE Theatre at Proctors, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16. Tickets, $25, are available at the Box Office at Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady; by phone at 518.346.6204; and online at proctors.org.

Porter, who, unlike his contemporaries, wrote alone, is responsible for standards like “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “You’re the Top,” “Love For Sale,” “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” “It’s De-Lovely” and “Don’t Fence Me In,” all of which will be featured in A Century of Cole Porter, as will the delightful Gilbert & Sullivan-influenced “I’ve A Shooting Box in Scotland” (taken from the score of See America First).

Lincoln Mayorga is an internationally recognized pianist, composer, arranger and recording artist, known for his brilliant interpretations of the great American songbook.

At Proctors, Mayorga will be joined by his wife, vocalist and pianist Sheri Bauer-Mayorga, along with drummer Ted MacKenzie and bassist Otto Gardner. Vocalists on the program will include Jean Leonard, Derek Stannard and Claudia Bruce, with MC Cheryl K. Masterson.

“Cole Porter is American music,” says Leonard. “Every time we sing his songs we’re reminded of how brilliant he was, and what a legacy he’s left us.”

In addition to offering selections from Porter’s considerable catalog of hits, the Mayorgas will play an original two piano arrangement of Porter’s 1923 one-act ballet sketch, “Within the Quota,” and the singers will join in duets and ensembles.

A Century of Cole Porter at Proctors is sponsored by MVP Healthcare.