Archikulture Digest
George M. Cohan Tonight!

George M. Cohan Tonight!

by Chip Deffaa

Winter Park Playhouse • Winter Park, Florida

music by George M. Cohan, starring Adam Biner, musical direction by Christopher Leavy

Never before has so much talent been packed into one guy on one stage in Winter Park. That whiz bang kid Adam Biner pulls off an intermission-free solo performance covering the life of the prolific George M. Cohan. Biner’s alone on stage except for the Chris Leavey Orchestra over in the pit and the bartender out front. Cohan might be described as one man with one career and hundreds of hits. Many of Cohan’s hits have faded in popularity over the century, but not all. “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy” holds up well, along with “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and “Harrigan.” You can Google the rest.

George M. Cohan had a typical late 19th century entertainment upbringing. His family lived and worked the vaudeville circuit, living on trains and from suitcases as they traveled from Albany to Los Angeles. George’s education was sporadic; he could barely could read and write, but he sure could crank out a tune.

Tonight, we jump on that whirling dervish and follow his career from song to song. His list of hits is endless, ranging from A to Z (I couldn’t find a song starting with the letter “X,” but I’m sure it’s out there). Biner pumps energy and verve into each number, and his road stories are gripping as well as entertaining. There’s a lot to love here: Biner’s acting, the fast-paced tunes, and the rise of American entertainment as world class. Grab a seat while you can, this one is bound to sell out fast.

Winter Park Playhouse


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