Hewitt, Margherita, Gillentine Lead Reprise's KISS ME KATE

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Tom Hewitt, Lesli Margherita and Meg Gillentine are the Broadway and West End stars that will lead the cast of Reprise Theatre Company's third production of the 2010-2011 season, "Kiss Me, Kate", playing May 10 to 22 (press opening May 11, 2011) at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. The musical - with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Samuel and Bella Spewack will be directed by Michael Michetti, co-artistic director of The Theatre @ Boston Court and choreographed by Lee Martino. Michael Paternostro will serve as musical director.

Tom Hewitt received both Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for his performance as Frank N Furter in the recent Broadway revival of "The Rocky Horror Show." Other Broadway credits include Billy Flynn in "Chicago," Dracula in "Dracula: The Musical," "The Boys from Syracuse," Scar in "The Lion King," "The School for Scandal," and "The Sisters Rosenzweig." Off Broadway, Hewitt received an Outer Critics' nomination for "Beau Jest" and he was the recipient of the Touring Broadway Award and for the national tour of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

Lesli Margherita received the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performer in a Musical for her portrayal of ‘Inez' in the new musical "Zorro", which played at the Garrick Theater in London's West End. National tour and regional theater credits include starring roles in "Spamalot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "She Loves Me," and for Reprise Theatre Company, "Damn Yankees" and "Zorba." Margherita played Gloria Thorpe in the Reprise production of "Damn Yankees."

Meg Gillentine was last seen at Pasadena Playhouse playing Diana in the new musical, "Dangerous Beauty." Other credits include the First National Tour of "Fosse" and the Los Angeles company of "The Producers" starring Jason Alexander and Martin Short. Regional Credits include Lola in "Damn Yankees" and Tintinabula in "A Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Forum" both with Reprise Theatre Company. Gillentine was the recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for her portrayal of Lola in "Damn Yankees" at Arena Stage.

Jason Alexander, Artistic Director of Reprise Theatre Company, says, " ‘Kiss Me, Kate' is a battle of the sexes reaching as far back as Shakespeare's time and magnified through the maniacal egos of two, gigantic theatrical stars vying for top billing, accolades and the upper hand in their own flamboyant relationship."

When "Kiss Me, Kate" first opened on Broadway in late 1948 it revitalized Cole Porter's career and became his biggest hit.

"Kiss Me, Kate" came about when a novice producer, Saint Subber, thought there might be a show about a star acting couple off-stage and on-stage, after working on a production of "Taming Of The Shrew" with the on-again-off-again, famed acting team Lynn Fontaine and Alfred Lunt. He then engaged librettists Sam and Bella Spewack and composer-lyricist Cole Porter to create "Kiss Me, Kate".

In 1937, eleven years before "Kate", Cole Porter had suffered a devastating horse accident in which both of his legs were crushed. This led him into a depression where the "cure" included him being one of the first patients to experience electric shock therapy. While he still found some success, his career began to wind down, and after two back-to-back flops ("Seven Lively Arts" in 1944 and "Around The World" in 1946), there was much speculation about his career being over. But then he was engaged to write the score for "Kate". It won the first Best Musical Tony Award and has a score that boasts "So In Love," "Why Can't You Behave?" "Another' Openin' Another Show," and "Too Darn Hot," among others. Saint Subber went onto produce Broadway shows for another 35 years, including many of Neil Simon's early hit comedies.

Additional casting for "Kiss Me, Kate" will be announced at a later date.

Single tickets are available for "Kiss Me, Kate" at www.reprise.org or through the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310/825-2101.

Christine Bernardi Weil is Managing Director and Gilles Chiasson is Producing Director of Reprise Theatre Company.

Michael Michetti (Director) is co-artistic director of The Theatre @ Boston Court, directed The Theatre @ Boston Court's productions of "dark play or stories for boys" (L.A. Drama Critics Circle nominations for Production, Direction), "Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings" (Ovation Nominations for Musical, Director of a Musical), "A Picture of Dorian Gray" (LADCC Award for Direction), "Pera Palas" (LADCC Awards for Production, Direction), "Summertime," and its inaugural production of "Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans, 1836."

A director of plays and musicals, new works and classics, his diverse credits include: the celebrated production of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents' "Anyone Can Whistle" (incorporating revisions made by Michetti and approved by the authors) at the Matrix Theatre; David Hare's "Amy's View" starring Carol Lawrence at Florida Rep; David Mamet's "A Life in the Theatre" starring HAl Holbrook at the Pasadena Playhouse; the world premiere of "Ouroboros" by The Theatre @ Boston Court's literary manager Tom Jacobson (LA Weekly Award - Production of the Year); acclaimed productions of Brecht's rarely staged "Edward II" and Aphra Behn's restoration comedy "The Rover," both for Circle X at the Actors' Gang Theatre; the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan's "Crawl, Fade to White" at Theatre of NOTE; the Ovation-nominated productions of "Titanic" for Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities and "Sweeney Todd" starring Amanda McBroom and George Ball; "As You Like It" and Moliere's "Don Juan" for A Noise Within; and for Reprise Theatre Company, "Carousel" starring Alexandra Silber and Robert Patteri, "Man of La Mancha" starring Brent Spiner and Julia Migenes, and "Li'l Abner" starring Cathy Rigby and Fred Willard.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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