BWW TV: How Did KISS ME, KATE Change for 2019? The Company Tells All!
From this moment on, you'll be so in love with this cast.
What happens when Shakespeare meets Porter? Audiences are finding out eight times a week at Studio 54 when the Taming of the Shrew comes to life onstage within one of the most beloved musicals of the Golden Age. Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Kiss Me, Kate, directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, opened just last month for a new generation of theatre-goers.
"I love the idea of introducing it to other people because it was the first musical to ever win the Tony for Best Musical," explained Kelli O'Hara, who plays Kate/Lilli. "It does talk a lot about the history of this art form which I think is important to anyone who loves musical theatre in general- to know where it all comes from. I also like that we have an opportunity to do it and look at it more closely, find new reasons to do it in 2019 and let it evolve."
Amanda Green, who wrote additional material for this revival, played perhaps the biggest role in re-working aspects of the show for today's audience. "The reason why people enjoyed it when it first came out would not be as enjoyable today. To be able to bring it back to have the joyous experience that they had when it first opened, because audiences have changed, our perception of what is acceptable of women and men, what's fun to watch onstage has certainly changed," said Green.
Stephanie Styles and Corbin Bleu, who play Lois Lane/Bianca and Lucentio/Bill jumped at the chance to tackle their characters. "It's my Broadway debut so getting to do a show about Broadway is the best thing ever," said Styles.
Bleu chose his role over another offer. "I got an offer to do a production of In the Heights at the Sydney Opera House and it was going to be short run and more money. I could go do a production at the Sydney Opera House of a show I've done before... or I could go sweat my ass off, tap dance on the ceiling eight times a week in a lower contract, but work with Kelli O'Hara, Will Chase, Stephanie Styles, Scott Ellis and Warren Carlyle. Obviously I chose the latter."
The music is one of Chase's favorite part of the show. "Paul Gemignani would always say it throughout rehearsals, he was so glad that people were going to hear us do it and to hear this score in the whole songbook. You've got operetta, one of the best opening numbers ever, a quintessential theatre number, couple of hot jazz numbers... for me the music is always the starting point and for people to see that is awesome."
Watch below as the company tells us even more about life at Studio 54 and why they just can't get enough of Kiss Me, Kate!