December 18, 2016

No matter how festive your holiday party season may be, it is unlikely to reach the heights, or depths, described in Noël Coward’s irresistibly funny song “I Went to a Marvelous Party,” a highlight of “Life Is for Living,” a tribute to Coward created and performed by Simon Green and his accompanist at the piano, David Shrubsole. In that delicious song, delivered with the driest of wit by Mr. Green, the narrator recalls a season of decadent parties on the French Riviera, in cascades of rhymed lyrics that grow more lunatic as the song trundles along. “People’s behavior away from Belgravia would make you aghast,” he confides with ill-disguised glee. The show, which opened on Sunday at 59E59 Theaters, combines songs with snippets from Coward’s letters and diaries, in roughly chronological order, as well as some of his verse, set to music by Mr. Shrubsole. An underlying theme is the development of Coward’s famous persona: The eternal bon vivant gliding through the high life dispensing brittle wit.