Last night we saw the utterly delightful one-person show, “Love, Linda,” at the York Theatre (54th, between Lex and 3rd). The Linda of the title is Linda Porter, wife of Cole. The Linda of the show is Stevie Holland, longtime cabaret performer. In her 75-minute performance, Holland inhabits Linda Porter and describes their complex life together by singing 20 of Cole’s songs in a most imaginative way. We hear the song lyrics not as they were written for Broadway shows, but in a context that relates to the marriage of the gay, closeted composer and his forever-loving wife.
Holland’s performance is completely winning. She manages to imbue humor and sorrow to depictions of both their lives. By the end of the performance, you understand Cole and Linda in a way you never did after seeing the entertaining 2004 movie, “De-Lovely,” with Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd, or the preposterous 1946 movie, “Night and Day,” with Gregory Peck and Alexis Smith. Commenting in her show on “Night and Day,” Stevie Holland notes that the accuracy of the depictions of the couple were like… night and day.
It should be mentioned that Holland co-wrote the book with Gary William Friedman, and that Tony-winner Richard Maltby, Jr., directed. The show closes Jan. 5. Well worth catching. For a preview, click on the video below.