If strength lies in union, the union of the great Cole Porter and the immense William Shakespeare inevitably lead to a masterpiece: Kiss Me, Kate.
A reworking of Shakespeare’s lively comedy The Taming of the Shrew enriched by an element of play within a play, Kiss Me, Kate is considered by many to be the perfect musical, and it has been blessed with success since its Broadway debut in 1948, achieving a total of 1077 consecutive performances and winning 5 Tony Awards for best musical, best musical writer, best composer, best costumes and best producer. This success continued in numerous versions of the play performed all over the world.
My task with this new edition was to find the right balance of humour, romance and the gentle satire of the text without allowing any of these to prevail over the others, but blending what are, to me, the predominant elements of Kiss Me, Kate. So narrating the intertwining of the private lives of the various characters, their passionate love affairs and their gaffes, allowed me to indulge the irony, comedy and pathos, as well as the many dance numbers and the play within a play. And everything underscored with a contemporary vision for a musical that’s totally current and sustained by a mechanism which remains valid today.
Naturally without forgetting the essential contribution of Cole Porter’s music, which ranges from waltz to tap, lyrical numbers to all-out songs. It’s no accident that Kiss Me, Kate has been recorded by stars of light music such as Frank Sinatra as well as opera singers like Placido Domingo.
And if you ask me why I decided to stage Kiss Me, Kate, my answer is that it’s a musical that thrills and conquers: see it once and you’ll want to see it a hundred times more…. Enjoy!
Kiss Me, Kate tells the story of two actors who were once husband and wife and who find themselves performing in a Broadway version of Shakespeare’s brilliant comedy The Taming of the Shrew. She’s about to remarry an important politician, while he has no qualms about wooing a young showgirl in the company. The changed circumstances of the former couple mean that during rehearsals there are quarrels and bitchiness, but there are also romantic moments when the two remember their love story with pleasure. However, the delivery of a bouquet of flowers to the wrong person unleashes the fury of the beautiful Kate, who starts rebelling onstage. But the arrival of two droll gangsters to whom the producer owes money, and their preposterous one-liners, creates a series of hilarious comic situations which alternate with moments of deep pathos, wonderful dance numbers and Cole Porter’s fabulous melodies, bringing the performance of The Taming of the Shrew to an inevitable and frothy happy ending!