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Kiss Me, Kate (Revised 1999)

Description

Combine Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" with Porter's music and lyrics to get KISS ME, KATE — an instant success with every cast and audience. This is a play-within-a-play where each cast member's on-stage life is complicated by what is happening offstage. Musical numbers include Why Can't You Behave, So In Love Am I, Wunderbar, Tom, Dick or Harry, Were Thine That Special Face, From This Moment On, Too Darn Hot, Brush Up Your Shakespeare, I Hate Men, Always True to You (In My Fashion) and Another Op'nin, Another Show. KISS ME, KATE is fun, melodious and sophisticated. *Music samples courtesy of DRG Records and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Synopsis

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.

Credits

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack

Orchestration

Full Instrumentation

1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Soprano & Alto Saxophone
1 Reed II: Flute II, Clarinet I & Alto Saxophone
1 Reed III: Flute III (or Oboe), Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet II, Soprano Saxophone (or Clarinet) & Tenor Saxophone
1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon & Baritone Saxophone

1 Horn
1 Trumpet I (doubles Flugelhorn and Piccolo Trumpet)
1 Trumpet II (doubles Flugelhorn and Piccolo Trumpet)
1 Trombone [tenor] (doubles Bass Trombone for No. 4 “Wunderbar” and No. 22 “Pavane.” Optional Tuba for No.4 “Wunderbar.”)

2 Percussion I & II: (* indicates shared instruments)
   I – Trap Drums:
      Bass Drum
      Snare Drum (brushes, sticks & mallets)
      Tom Toms
      Conga (for stage cue)
      Suspended Cymbals (at least 4: crash, splash, sizzle & Chinese)
      Finger Cymbals
      Hi-Hat
      Mark Tree
      Bell Tree
      Triangle
      Gong
      Tambourine
      Pandeiro
      Dumbek
     *Temple Blocks (4)
      Wood Blocks (2)
      Cow Bell
     *Crotale
      Duck Call
     *Cabasa
      Whip
     *Sandpaper Blocks
      Guiro (optional)
      Sleigh Bells

   II – Mallet Instruments:
      Timpani (2 pedal drums)
      Glockenspiel (Bells)
      Vibraphone
      Xylophone
      Marimba (optional)
     *Crotale
      Suspended Cymbals (crash, splash, sizzle & Chinese)
      Finger Cymbals
      Mark Tree
      Bell Tree
      Triangle
      Wood Blocks (horse hooves)
     *Temple Blocks
     *Sandpaper Blocks
      Bass Drum (Gran Cassa) w/ attached Cymbal)
      Rainstick
      Rattle
      Ratchet
      Siren
      Mouth Siren
      Shaker
     *Cabasa
      Bulb Horn
      Fight Bell
      Ship’s Bell
      Brass Bell (or “G” Chime)
      Steel Plate

1 Harp
1 Guitar (doubling Mandolin & Lute or Nylon Guitar)
1 Keyboard Synthesizer (principally orchestra harmonic rhythm piano) with registrations for: Piano, Tack Piano (Honky Tonk Piano), Celeste, Harpsichord, Accordion (French Musette), Strings, Violin Sound, Acoustic/Electric Piano combination, Flute/Clarinet combination, Glock/Flute combination & Bass Drum (Gran Cassa).

3 Violins I & II
1 Viola (doubling Violin)
1 Cello
1 Bass

Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

A special String Substitute Keyboard Synthesizer part covering the music for Violins I & II, Viola and Cello is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration.

Rehearsal Materials

1       Piano Conductor’s Score
1       Prompt Book
4       Prompt Books for Principal Characters
1       Original Cast CD
15     Dialogue Parts
36     Chorus-Vocal Parts

Cast List

Principals

(3 female; 7 male)

Hattie — Lili Vanessi’s dresser
Paul — Fred Graham’s dresser, specialty dancer & leader of solo trio for “Too Darn Hot”
Lois Lane (Bianca) — a nightclub singer in her first featured role on the stage
Bill Calhoun (Lucentio) — a Broadway hoofer, Lois’ partner and a chronic gambler
Lilli Vanessi (Katharine) — a star stage and screen actress, former wife of Fred Graham
Fred Graham (Petruchio) — writer, producer, director, actor and superman; former husband of Lili
First Man — gunman-enforcer & half the donkey for Finale Act Two
Second Man — gunman-enforcer & half the donkey for Finale Act Two
Gremio — first suitor; ensemble dancer & motorcyclist; doubles as Flynt, aide to Gen. Howell
Hortensio — second suitor; ensemble dancer & motorcyclist; doubles as Riley, aide to Gen. Howell
General Harrison Howell — career military officer, politician and Lili’s “new” man

Supporting

Pops (Stage Doorman) — ensemble; doubles as Padua Priest
Ralph (Stage Manager) — ensemble singer
Dance Captain — doubles as Gregory, servant to Petruchio; ensemble dancer & recorder player
Harry Trevor — a veteran character actor; doubles as Baptista Minola
Stagehand #1 (Electrician & Cab Driver — doubles as Nathaniel, servant to Petruchio
Stagehand #2 (Assistant Electrician) — doubles as Philip, servant to Petruchio
Stagehand #3 (Carpenter & Driver for Gen. Howell — doubles as Haberdasher
Wardrobe Lady — ensemble singer
Ensemble Singer — part of female quartet for “Bianca”; doubles as Padua Inn Waitress
Two Women — part of female quartet for “Bianca”
Four Women — ensemble dancers

Ensemble

Company SATB singers and dancers
Citizens of Padua

The original Broadway production had a cast of 25 performers, including chorus. Doubling was employed as indicated.

Brief History

The original production of KISS ME, KATE played for 1,077 performances on Broadway at the New Century Theatre and for 501 performances in London at the Coliseum Theatre. The cast included Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang. The original cast album issued in 1948 by Columbia Records had the distinction of being the very first Broadway cast recording to be issued on LP. KISS ME, KATE was revived in 1999 at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway, where it played for 881 performances starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie, and at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, where it played for about 300 performances starring Brent Barrett and Marin Mazzie.

Awards (2000)

5 Tony Awards for Best Revival, Best Actor, Best Costumes, Best Director and Best Orchestrations.
6 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival, Actor, Director, Orchestrations, Set Design and Costume Design.