Blakemore's Kate Extends Seven Months to 28 SepDate: 5 December 2001
Michael Blakemore's acclaimed Broadway revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate has extended its West End run by seven months. The show - which last month won Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and this week receives multiple nominations in the Whatsonstage.com Awards - opened to critical acclaim at the Victoria Palace on 30 October (previews from 16 October). It had been booking to 9 February but is now taking bookings up to 28 September 2002.
The West End production currently stars four American principals - Brent Barrett, Marin Mazzie, Nancy Anderson and Michael Berresse, all of whom have been nominated individually for Whatsonstage.com performer awards.
Kiss Me Kate opened in November 1999 at New York's Martin Beck Theatre. In addition to rave reviews, the show has won five Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and four Outer Critics' Circle Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical in all three. British director Michael Blakemore won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Musical.
Originally staged in 1948, the 20th century "battle of the sexes" version of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Sam and Bella Spewack, is one of Broadway's best loved musicals. A play-within-a-play, it follows behind the scenes as arrogant actor-producer Fred Graham and his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi battle and flirt their way through a performance of Shakespeare's classic. The famous score includes "Another Op'nin' Another Show", "Too Darn Hot", "Always True to You (in my Fashion)", "We Open in Venice" and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare".
Kiss Me Kate was recreated for the screen in 1953, with Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel in the leads. The last major London production was mounted in 1997 at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park.
The entire Broadway creative team has worked on the London production. Scenic design is by Robin Wagner, costume design by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski, sound by Tony Meola, orchestrations by Don Sebesky and dance arrangements by David Chase. The musical direction is by Paul Gemignani and choreography by Kathleen Marshall. The London production of Kiss Me Kate is presented by its Broadway producers, Roger Berlind and Roger Horchow, with Nica Burns as associate producer.
- by Terri Paddock