Dorothy Fields’ lyrics are at the heart of the Great American Songbook. From Tin Pan Alley to Broadway and Hollywood, the songs she wrote with Jimmy McHugh, Jerome Kern and Cy Coleman defined an era and delighted millions.
Fields’ catalogue include the Oscar-winning The Way You Look Tonight, Big Spender, On The Sunny Side of the Street, Rhythm of Life, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, A Fine Romance, I Won’t Dance and April Fooled Me. You know her songs, but how well do you know the woman?
Starring the indomitable songstress Ali Bodycoat (Minor Major Marlene, Franklin), Exactly Like You is a tribute to the lyricist Dorothy Fields and a celebration of wit, wonder and to the woman who made it in a man’s world, over the course of a fifty year career in the theatre.
The cabaret commences with Fields as a young woman writing for Tin Pan Alley and the Cotton Club, but nearly losing her confidence altogether when a budding romance with her first major collaborator, Jimmy McHugh, ends in sadness.
Fields finds her feet again by collaborating with the legendary composer Jerome Kern; their friendship builds, and they triumph by winning the Oscar for the song The Way You Look Tonight. Kern’s death, however, knocks Fields sidewise. Even her brother, the famous book writer Herb Fields (Dorothy hails from one of America’s most celebrated show-business clans) can barely entice her to finish writing Annie Get Your Gun before giving it all away.
In the second act, a much older Fields – all but retired from songwriting – is drawn back in by the energy and enthusiasm of a ‘new generation’ composer, Cy Coleman, and together they write perhaps her most beloved and successful work – Sweet Charity.
Reflecting on her career at its end, Fields realises that while her songs gave millions of people hope and delight, it was her collaborators who were able to give her the same at her lowest points. The show is a celebration of friendship and art, and packed with Field’s most dazzling songs.
Exactly Like You: The Magic of Dorothy Fields
Cabaret Soiree – His Majesty’s Theatre, 825 Hay Street, Perth
Season: 9 – 11 October 2014
Bookings: 1300 795 012 or www.ticketek.com.au
For more information, visit: www.hismajestystheatre.com.au for details.
Image: by Penny Lane