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Review: It's Another Op'nin, Another Show With KISS ME, KATE at Broadway At Music Circus

Review: It's Another Op'nin, Another Show With KISS ME, KATE at Broadway At Music Circus

Plays through July 17

Another classic from the 1940s is gracing the stage at Broadway at Music Circus. This time, it's Kiss Me, Kate, the musical-within-a-musical that cemented Cole Porter's return to Broadway as a successful lyricist and composer. It ended up being Porter's longest-running Broadway show and won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical.

The show was inspired by real-life acting couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, whose tumultuous relationship during a run of The Taming of the Shrew fascinated producer Arnold Saint-Subber. He asked another battling couple, Bella and Samuel Spewack, to write the book for Kiss Me, Kate in 1947. All the experience in fighting paid off, and a classic was born.

Kiss Me, Kate cleverly stages a play within a musical by telling the story of two divorced actors, Fred Graham (Chris Hoch) and Lilli Vanessi (Kristen Beth Williams). While working together on a production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, dying embers of attraction are stoked and rekindled, then extinguished and rekindled again...but hilariously so. A secondary romance involves opportunistic up-and-coming actors Lois Lane (Emma Degerstedt) and Bill Calhoun (Michael Starr). Throw in a case of mistaken identity with the mob, a rigid Vice-Presidential hopeful, and some risqué sexual undertones (especially for the 1940s) and you get a recipe for laugh-out-loud fun.

Degerstedt's Lois Lane is uncultured, airheaded, and crafty. She knows how to use her sex appeal to get what she wants, whether it be a diamond bracelet, a role, or a husband. In the audience favorite, "Tom, Dick or Harry," her Shrew character Bianca promises her three suitors that she's eager to marry "any Tom, Harry or Dick," and we can imagine why as they chant, "a dicka dick, a dicka dick, a dicka dick." On the opposite side of the spectrum is Williams' Lilli Vanessi, a pampered and ill-tempered diva who mirrors her Shrew counterpart, Katharine, who is the one in need of taming. Despite her violent tendencies, she's a likeable shrew and everyone (yes, even the men) loved her fiery "I Hate Men." The inarguable glue of the show, however, is Hoch and his powerful portrayal of Graham and Petruchio. If anyone can tame a shrew, it's this guy. Hoch turns what could be a sensitive theme into a funny satire of practices past and reveals a tender side in his jaw-dropping "So In Love" reprise.

With energetic hit numbers like "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "Wunderbar," and the jazzy "Too Darn Hot," we are steeped in nostalgia and enjoying every minute. The masterful Shrew crew will keep you entertained and forgetting about your gas tank for a blissful, toe-tapping 2 and a half hours. So, "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" and get down to Music Circus!

Kiss Me, Kate plays at Broadway at Music Circus through July 17. For tickets and more information, call (916) 557-1999 or visit BroadwaySacramento.com.

Photo credit: Charr Crail




From This Author - Courtney Symes

Courtney Symes is a long-time theatre aficionado who has been writing for BroadwayWorld since 2017. She has been active in theatre and youth organizations in her community. After trying law school,... (read more about this author)


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