Kiss Me, Kate (Revised 1999)

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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, 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
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Players Guild of Leonia LEONIA, NJ 10/18/2014 11/09/2014
    East Carolina University - Loessin Playh GREENVILLE, NC 11/20/2014 11/25/2014
    California State University FULLERTON, CA 11/21/2014 12/14/2014
    Darlington Theatre Players DARLINGTON, WA 11/21/2014 12/13/2014
    Renaissance Music Theatre Company PHILADELPHIA, PA 11/28/2014 12/13/2014
    StageCoach Productions MONT VERNON, NH 12/05/2014 12/07/2014
    Show Palace Dinner Theatre HUDSON, FL 01/15/2015 03/01/2015
    Auteursbureau ALMO BVBA ANTWERP 01/29/2015 01/31/2015
    The Theatre Company BRYAN, TX 02/06/2015 02/15/2015
    Pulaski High School PULASKI, WI 02/14/2015 02/22/2015
    Bergen County Academies HACKENSACK, NJ 02/27/2015 02/28/2015
    El Camino Fundamental High School SACRAMENTO, CA 03/04/2015 03/15/2015
    Mandell Jewish Community Center WEST HARTFORD, CT 03/05/2015 03/08/2015
    Concord Players CONCORD, MA 04/23/2015 05/09/2015
    Walpole Footlighters WALPOLE, MA 05/01/2015 05/17/2015
    San Joaquin Delta College STOCKTON, CA 05/08/2015 05/17/2015
    Playhouse on the Square MEMPHIS, TN 05/08/2015 05/31/2015
    Hartford Stage Company HARTFORD, CT 05/14/2015 06/14/2015
    2nd Star Productions ANNAPOLIS, MD 05/29/2015 06/28/2015
    Broadway by the Bay REDWOOD CITY, CA 06/04/2015 06/21/2015
    Rose Valley Chorus & Orchestra PHILADELPHIA, PA 06/19/2015 06/20/2015
    Old Globe Theatre/Univ. San Diego SAN DIEGO, CA 07/01/2015 08/09/2015
    Moeller & Botelho Producoes Artisticas RIO DE JANEIRO 07/01/2015 07/01/2016