By Claire Willett

Cole Porter

“Six Degrees of Separation” is a statistical theory model which suggests that every human being on earth is connected to every other human being on earth through no more than six other people. That is beyond the scope of this undertaking, so we’re going to stick with its far-less-weighty spinoff, the pop-culture parlor game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” which adapts this model to suggest that any Hollywood actor can be connected to movie star Kevin Bacon through no more than six movies. Bacon, a true Renaissance man (actor, director, musician, writer, producer) is a prolific Hollywood workhorse with over 70 movies to his name, in many different genres, which means has amassed a staggering array of celebrity co-stars, which is why the game works.

Kevin Bacon in Footloose

You may be skeptical. “Sure, it would work with Rob Lowe or Demi Moore,” you say, “but what about someone like, say, Orson Welles?”

Orson Welles

Easy! Orson Welles was in the original Casino Royale with Ursula Andress who was in Clash of the Titans with Laurence Olivier who was in Dracula with Frank Langella who was in Frost/Nixon with Kevin Bacon. BACON SCORE = 4.

Kevin Bacon is all well and good, but if we want to talk about the ultimate Renaissance man we must go back to singer/songwriter/pianist/musical theatre composer/social butterfly Cole Porter, who seemed to know every even remotely famous person in the first half of the 20th century. The hottest silver screen stars sang and danced in his films and Broadway shows; celebrity composers and artists hung out at his lavish cocktail parties. He defined an entire era with his witty lyrics and champagne-sparkling melodies, and the reverberations of his impact on popular music and culture are still felt today. Was there anyone worth knowing in 1920’s Paris that Cole Porter never shared a drink with? Not by my reckoning. In honor of our upcoming Cole Porter-themed ballet “Eyes On You,” I’d like to test that theory with a little game called “Six Degrees of Cole Porter.” Stop scrolling as you make your guesses – the solution is right below the image.  (If you figure out a way to get there in fewer moves, post it in the comments.)

Ready? Let’s play!

6 MOVES: Black Swan star Natalie Portman 
Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Natalie Portman was in Closer with Julia Roberts who was in Ocean’s Eleven with Elliott Gould who was in The Muppet Movie with James Coburn who was in Charade with Cary Grant who was in The Philadelphia Story with Jimmy Stewart who was in Born To Dance with a score by Cole Porter.
5 MOVES: Film and Musical Theatre Actor Hugh Jackman 
Hugh Jackman


Hugh Jackman did voice-over work for Happy Feet with Robin Williams who was in Dead Poet’s Society with Robert Sean Leonard who stars on House with Hugh Laurie who was in Jeeves and Wooster written by PG Wodehouse who wrote the book to Anything Goes with Cole Porter.

4 MOVES: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt was married to Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was succeeded in the Oval Office by Harry Truman whose Secretary of State was Dean Acheson who was roommates at Harvard Law School with Cole Porter.
3 MOVES: Fashion Designer Coco Chanel 
Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel had an affair with Igor Stravinsky who composed Firebird for the Ballets Russe who were once hired to perform at an extravagant private ball in Venice by Cole Porter.

2 MOVES: Who’s the Boss star Tony Danza 
Tony Danza
Tony Danza was in the Laughing With the Presidents TV special with Bob Hope who was in Red, Hot and Blue written by Cole Porter.
1 MOVE: Fred Astaire 
Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire starred in Gay Divorce written by Cole Porter.
Want to take a stab at it? Try connecting Cole Porter and OBT Artistic Director Christopher Stowell. Yes, it can be done, we’ve tested it! The first person who posts a comment below doing it in the fewest number of moves by April 15th (feel free to be creative!) will win a pair of tickets to Song & Dance. Post your ideas below in the comments!

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