Kiss Me Kate Show Information

KISS ME, KATE was originally produced in 1948 and
has been considered one of Broadway’s treasures.
It was revived in 1999, taking advantage of new
technology in music and keeping in mind evolving
social values. In the Revised Version all the
basic music material for the show was taken back
to the fundamentals of its melody, harmony and
rhythm, and a new score was written. All
seventeen of the original songs are present in the
revised score, and the song From This Moment On
from Porter’s OUT OF THIS WORLD as well as from
the 1953 film version of KISS ME, KATE has been
added. The book was carefully refined, not changed,
for the new version. The character Harrison Howell
has become a General with political ambitions, and
adds some topical humor from the exact period of
the show to the Revised Version. Another Op’nin’
Another Show welcomes you to Baltimore and to the
opening of a musical version of Shakespeare’s “The
Taming of the Shrew.” The cast of the play is on
stage and receiving final instructions from Fred
Graham, the director. A play-within-a-play unfolds,
where each of the four main cast members’ on-stage
performance is complicated by what is happening in
his off-stage life. Fred takes the roles of
director and male lead, Petruchio. His ex-wife
Lilli, now a movie star with a reputation for being
difficult to work with, plays Katharine, the shrew.
Fred’s current love interest, Lois, plays the role
of Bianca, and the other man in Lois’ life, Bill,
plays the role of Lucentio. Before the curtain rises
on “The Shrew” we find out that Bill has a gambling
problem. He tells Lois that he signed a $10,000 IOU
for a debt in Fred’s name, instead of using his own
name. Not long after Lois begs Bill to stop gambling,
two thugs show up at the theater to make it clear
that Bill will have to make good on that IOU. But
they confront Fred instead of Bill, since Fred’s name
is on the gambling debt. Lois asks Bill Why Can’t You
Behave? Fred and Lilli reminisce nostalgically about
their other performances together, and their warm
feelings for each other return -Wunderbar. When
flowers sent by Fred to Lois mistakenly get delivered
to Lilli, Lilli falls even more deeply in love with
Fred -So in Love. We are brought into Shakespeare’s
world with We Open in Venice. It is not long before we
are told that Lucentio (Bill) may not marry his love
Bianca (Lois), until Bianca’s older sister Katharine
(Lilli) the shrew is married off. Bianca enjoys
flirting with her gentlemen callers in Tom, Dick or
Harry. Fortunately for Bianca and Lucentio, Petruchio
(Fred) comes to town looking for a wealthy wife and is
not scared off by Katharine. Petruchio explains his
goal in I’ve Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua and
Katharine makes her feelings clear in I Hate Men. Lilli
finally discovers that the flowers Fred sent her were
actually intended for Lois, and we hear her shriek in
outrage from offstage. In Were Thine That Special Face
Petruchio sings of his strong feelings for Katharine.
Lilli threatens to walk out of the show, but is forced
to stay. Fred convinces the two gangsters that he will
be able to pay them the money he allegedly owes them, if
they can make sure Lilli continues to play her role. The
gangsters put on costumes and become part of the cast of
“The Shrew” to stay close to Lilli. Lilli uses her anger
toward Fred to express herself as Katharine for the rest
of the show. Fred is forced to get tough with Katharine
as he plays Petruchio. Kiss Me, Kate closes the first
act. The second act opens with Too Darn Hot, which gives
the cast a chance to relax outside the theatre during
intermission. Back at “The Shrew” Petruchio marries
Katharine, and already misses his relatively peaceful
single life in Where Is the Life That Late I Led? Lois
and Bill sing of their relationship in Always True to
You (In My Fashion) and then Bill sings Bianca. When the
gangsters call their boss to ‘check in,’ they find out
that the boss has been killed. This makes Bill’s IOU
worthless, so the gangsters can leave. Lilli takes the
opportunity to walk off the show, and leaves with her
dependable fiance Harrison, as Fred reprises So in Love.
The gangsters get caught up in the limelight and pay an
unusual tribute to Shakespeare in Brush Up Your
Shakespeare. Bianca and Lucentio are finally married. As
“The Taming of the Shrew” comes to a close, Lilli
unexpectedly returns to the stage, and in Katharine’s
words expresses her intention of returning to Fred -I Am
Ashamed That Women Are So Simple. Lilli and Fred are
reunited, and Lois and Bill are together.
Read about the original Broadway production HERE
Buy the 1999 Broadway Revival CD HERE
The 1953 MGM film version contains many of the songs from
the Broadway show, but also has many substantial
differences. A DVD of the London Revival is available.