Having seen both George M. Cohan Tonight! and the latest Batman film within the last 10 days I find myself musing on how many interesting ways we can learn history. As a particularly poignant lesson in sound of America nearly 100 years ago – when superheroes were not ‘conflicted’ and where moral universes had clear and muscular divisions – George M. Cohan Tonight! doesn’t just tell us about American history. It tells us so much about today.
Written by Chip Deffaa, the show is a skilfully constructed bio-piece played engagingly by David Herzog. The wealth and depth of Cohan’s vision as an artist is lovingly displayed, and his voracious appetite for life is infectious. This is a great show that reminds us what a positive noise America once made when it was first finding its voice. Both Herzog and his director, Nick Phillips, have found the right balance in this shortened version of the show and it if you don’t know Cohan’s work – it is an absolute delight to discover. If you do, you’ll love some of the lesser known works featured here – notably the great “You Won’t Do Any Business if You Haven’t Got a Band”!
Editors Note: We found that this show was not eligible for any of our awards in 2008.