Kiss Me, Kate
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The Showmance Must Go On!
Cole Porter's beloved classic receives "Another Op'nin, Another Show", in this masterful 1999 London revival of the Tony Award winning musical Kiss Me, Kate! When the egotistical Fred Graham mounts a musical adaptation of The Taming of The Shrew (with himself as director, producer, and star) hes got the perfect leading lady in mind: his movie star ex-wife! The fireworks both onstage and off between the two seem destined to explode the entire production…or will a romantic flame thats Too Darn Hot be rekindled?
With backstage shenanigans, gangsters brushing up their Shakespeare, and a collection of Porter tunes that any Tom, Dick, or Harry will love, Kiss Me, Kate remains an all-time favorite of musical fans from Padua to Peoria.
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Porter and Samuel & Bella Spewack made a great use of the original play and went a little further. They used it to create a play inside a play. So we have a Taming of The Shrew on the stage and another one outside.
It is the opening night of a new production of The Taming of the Shrew and the two stars Lilli Vanessi and Fred C. Graham are going to work together again after a bitter divorce. Both are temperamental, vain and in love with each other.We also have a secondary love story between Lois and Bill who are Bianca and Lucentio in the play. She is the protegee of Fred and can we say a little more, but of course she loves a rascal. And finally our third couple, a pair of gansters who are there to get the money from an IOU.
Personally I have always loved the film version, if only for that wonderful scene of Fron This Moment On, with a glorious Bob Fosse and an spectacular Carol Henley, but this version is funnier.
Rachel York who plays Lilli has been a favourite of mine since The Scarlett Pimpernel. She has a great voice, strong and with a wide range of registers. Not in the vocal sense only but in the performing part. She is daring playing Lilli also funny and obnoxious. Personally I think she is better than Marie Mazzie, who is a little too bland for me. Her So In Love is great, and even when the tempo is faster than the usual versions I have heard I love it.
And Brent! what can I say about Brent? I simply adore the man. I liked him even more than I liked Howard Keel, and that my friends is saying a lot.He sings everything perfectly, and in the reprise of So In Love...well I am speechless Mitchell , I think, is at a lost playing Fred. Brent just shines. He is mean, funny even rude but he is Petruchio/Fred!. He owns the show and I can only say Bravo!
The rest of the cast is excellent Nolan Frederick as Paul shows us how It's Too Darn Hot must be sung, although Ann Miller will always have aplace in my heart.
Kaye Morgan plays a convincing Hattie and the rest of the cast is great. So why not 5 stars?
Well, maybe it is me , and maybe I am still too much in love with the Hermes Pan choreography of the 1953 film but honestly the scene of Tom, Dick and Harry was painful to watch . Michael Berresse is a competent dancer but the other two are just like me...and that is not a good thing. It was excruciating to watch. No rythm, no choreography, no nothing! Bad, very bad. Fortunately there were Rachel and Brent to save me for more pain.
All in all I think is a wonderful version of this musical and a keeper for any musicals lover.
Someone else might say they prefer the Hollywood version, with its superior technology, orchestration and dancing. But I was put off by the liberties taken with the original script--cutting out so much of the Shakespeare, all the racy little jokes and bad words (the word "bastard" hit the cutting-room floor in that era, and "louse" just doesn't have the same impact). I also didn't appreciate the song "It's Too Darn Hot" sung by her as a bizzare sort of strip tease tap dance. If that's to your liking, you may well prefer the old classic film. It left us both wondering why Hollywood can't seem to find the balance between the pendulum swings of Puritanical censorship and today's tasteless oversexing. Bridget Bardot once said that in Europe, sex is a fact of life, but in America it's an obsession--and it comes out in the unhealthy-feeling treatment of sex that Hollywood films have tended to offer us. So--enjoy this charming theater piece instead!
Most recent customer reviews
So good to hear so many well known songs in this show.
It's always interesting to see how the Broadway musical differs from the Hollywood...Read more