LOVE, LINDA: The Life of Mrs Cole Porter

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

03/12/2020 - 05/12/2020

4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth

28/11/2020 - 29/11/2020

ASB Theatre, Hutcheson St, Blenheim

23/06/2021 - 24/06/2021

Production Details

On Saturday 28 November, the 4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth, will host the

New Zealand premiere season of a hit off-Broadway musical.

Robert Kimball, historian and author of “The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter” called it “one of the best Cole Porter shows ever.”

In this tour-de-force one-woman show, Linda Lee Thomas (Mrs. Cole Porter), candidly recounts, through song and story, her life’s journey with Cole Porter.

Though Porter was gay, their companionship and love lasted through 35 years of marriage and a spectacular, glamour-filled life.

With innovative arrangements, the timeless music and lyrics of Cole Porter weave through the compelling narrative of Love, Linda, examining the darker sides of their life, while also celebrating the deep love that blossomed through their unconventional relationship.

Love, Linda was written by New York-based jazz vocalist Stevie Holland in collaboration with Gary William Friedman. Critics described it as “a clever and moving biography… A must see for fans of the great American Songbook who want something different ” (Joel Benjamin, and “an emotionally absorbing solo show” (David Finkle, New York Stage Review.)

Singer/actress Georgia Jamieson Emms, in her seventh appearance at the 4th Wall Theatre, will step into the role of Linda accompanied by the jazz trio of Ayrton Foote (piano), Thomas Moore (double bass) and Sebastian Macaulay (drums).

Love Linda is directed by Adam Macaulay, executive producer of drama at Radio New Zealand.

4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth 
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 November 2020
All Tickets $35
(Made possible with the support of the New Plymouth District Creative Communities Scheme.)

Gryphon Theatre, Wellington 
3-5 December 2020
Tickets $35 from
Use code LINDALEE at checkout to receive an Early bird discount.


Love Linda: The Life of Mrs Cole Porter
ASB Theatre, Hutcheson St Blenheim
Wednesday 23rd or Thursday 24th June 2021 

Singer/actress Georgia Jamieson Emmft

Book by Stevie Holland with Gary William Friedman
Arrangements and Additional Music by Gary William Friedman
Directed by Adam Macaulay

Theatre , Solo , Musical ,

1 hr 10 min

Excellent script and generous performance with comedy and emotional reveals

Review by David Searle 24th Jun 2021

Love, Linda: The Life Of Mrs Cole Porter is a delightful look at the marriage of Mr and Mrs Cole Porter told from the perspective of Mrs Porter while using the songs written by Mr Porter. It is a nice concept from which to explore the larger universal themes of love and loss, hope, regret and redemption.  

This is clearly a well-considered and directed show. The set is functional and minimalist. The lighting is exquisite. The costuming is on point – high society class with a hint of party. Even the nails match the lipstick. Small things, individually, but it goes to show the amount of thought that has gone into this production.

This is not, after all, the first time this show has toured. Love, Linda had a successful tour of the North Island in the latter half of 2020, and now it is the time of Blenheim, Nelson and Greymouth to enjoy the biting wit and exquisite voice of Georgia Jamieson Emms. It is to be commended when a theatre company tours the smaller centres and, judging by the looks of the full house on the opening night in Blenheim, it is certainly appreciated. 

Emms holds the predominately older audience in the palm of her hand right from the beginning. The classically trained opera singer is at ease with her Southern Belle drawl. Linda’s cutting wit is executed beautifully, but it is the vulnerable moments where Emms shines. While the love songs ‘Ours’ and ‘I Love Paris’ are beautiful, it is the hauntingly sad ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy’ that really hits home.  While Porter wrote some of the most upbeat and romantic songs of the twentieth century – ‘I Get A Kick Out Of You’, ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ and ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ spring to mind – he was an unusual and complex man in an unusual and complex marriage to an unusual and complex woman. This really is an excellent script.

There is a generosity in Emms’ performance. She holds her gaze with audience members when singing, delights in the moments of comedy and leans in to the emotional reveals. The audience responds in kind – and I detect more warmth toward this performance than I have seen in a long time.

Emms is ably supported by a trio of talented young jazz musicians. Ayrton Foote on piano, Thomas Moore on bass, and Sebastian Macaulay on drums are exceptional and mesmerising. If you get the chance to listen to one or all of these gentlemen in the future, take it.

Wanderlust Opera have promised to keep returning to smaller centres providing we keep showing up to see them. Challenge accepted. 


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Flows stylishly from monologue to song with musical and emotional depth and life

Review by Lisa Simpson 29th Nov 2020

Love Linda was originally scheduled to premiere in April 2020, but like many like live performance events it has been delayed by a virus and lockdowns. Fortunately, the production is on the road, currently being performed in New Plymouth then in Wellington. Clearly there is an appetite for the music of Cole Porter as the house is almost sold out with a well-heeled audience who are enjoying being out on the town. How fortunate we are!

The show is a tribute to Porter’s musical genius told through the lens of his older, socialite wife, Linda (Georgia Jamieson Emms). Linda Porter (1883-1954) was the daughter of a wealthy Virginian family, expected by her father to cultivate her outer beauty and by her mother, her inner beauty. The story follows the Porters from their meeting in Paris, to Vienna, New York and Hollywood. Linda’s influence on Cole Porter’s prolific career is explored, as is the nature of their unconventional but deeply felt love.

Set in what could be imagined to be Porter’s elegant music room, the stage is furnished simply with an armchair, side table, piano and drum kit. As Mrs Porter, Jamieson Emms is convincingly the charming Sothern Belle and gracious hostess. She gleefully reveals Linda’s cutting wit as she delivers the text with superb timing. Subtext and innuendo rule as well-known figures of the music world and high society are skewered by Linda’s pithy and sometimes pointed observations.

The show is beautifully written; lean and well-paced, it dances through the decades of the Porter marriage. Familiar and less well-known songs are set against the sometimes painful, often joyful events of Linda’s unapologetically privileged life and Cole Porter’s career.  An audience favourite is her delightful rendition of ‘The Scampi’, which showcases her range and talent as both a singer and actor.  Jamieson Emms segues effortlessly from highs to lows musically and emotionally, giving depth and life to the performance. She is at her best when she unleashes her clearly powerful talent.

Slight over amplification of the first act is pared back in the second to allow us to really enjoy Jamieson Emms voice.

Two consummate musicians – pianist Ayrton Foote and drummer Sebastian Macaulay – not only accompany Jamieson Emms but sensitively and subtly set the mood for many scenes. They are polished and nuanced. Bravo.

The whole performance flows stylishly from monologue to song as effortlessly as Linda Porter must have swept into the many dinner parties and balls parties she hosted. Her parents would have been proud.

We are truly transported to another time and place and given a peek into the glamourous, glittering lives of the Porters.


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