Although "Anything Goes" just received a major Broadway revival and "Kiss Me Kate is regularly produced everywhere, countless other Cole Porter musical comedies from the 1920s through 1950s are rarely performed due to their excessively silly books.But despite their second-rate characters and awkward dialogue, many of these shows contain songs by Porter that have become cabaret standards.
Porter's 1933 musical "Nymph Errant," which originally starred the fabulous Gertrude Lawrence, strangely never played Broadway following its London premiere. It has since developed the romanticized aura of being a long-lost musical in desperate need of resuscitation.
The plot concerns Eva (Jennifer Blood), an English girl who has just finished attending a Swiss boarding school. While her aging aunt and gardener boyfriend wait for her at home, Eva joins her school chums in traveling around the world.
Will Pomerantz's economical but handsome production features a cast made up primarily of very attractive females including Cady Huffman, who practically defined sexuality as the original Ulla in "The Producers" and here camps it up in several supporting roles.
Even if the show's songs might not rank with Porter's best work, they include cute and witty ditties with titles like "Sweet Nudity," and the jovial "Experiment," in which Hoffman, playing a freethinking teacher, urges her students to "take an example from Eve."
But the show's lengthy and painfully unfunny book scenes can try the patience of even the most dedicated musical theater enthusiast. All things considered, "Nymph Errant" would have worked better as a concert with short bits of narration in place of the dialogue.
If you go: "Nymph Errant" plays through Sunday at Theater Row. 410 W. 42nd St., 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.