Kiss Me, Kate (Revised 1999)

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Kiss Me, Kate (Revised 1999)

Cole Porter, Samuel Spewack, Bella Spewack

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  3f, 7m

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter / Book by Sam and Bella Spewack

The battle of the sexes takes center stage as former spouses feud onstage and off during a musical presentation of The Taming of the Shrew. Sophisticated, romantic and delightfully hilarious, Kiss Me, Kate boasts a sparkling Cole Porter score and a brilliant book from Sam and Bella Spewack.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Kiss Me, Kate (Revised 1999)
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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 7m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Shakespeare), Period, Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
Accolades
Accolades
  • First recipient of the Tony Award for Best Musical
    Winner! Five 1949 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Script and Best Score
    Winner! Five 2000 Tony Awards, including Best Revival and Best Orchestrations
    Winner! Six 2000 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival and Orchestrations
    Nominee: Four 2019 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival
    Winner! 2019 Drama League Award, Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Description

Passions run high as leading lady Lilli Vanessi and her ex-husband, actor/director Fred Graham, battle onstage and off in a production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. With romance, comedy, sophistication, and behind-the-scenes high jinks, Kiss Me, Kate combines the irreverent humor of four brilliant writers: Sam and Bella Spewack, Cole Porter and William Shakespeare. Musical numbers include "So In Love," "Wunderbar," "Tom, Dick or Harry," "Too Darn Hot," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," "I Hate Men," "Always True to You (In My Fashion)" and "Another Op'nin, Another Show."

Kiss Me, Kate was originally produced in 1948, and is considered one of Broadway's great treasures. It was revived on Broadway in 1999, taking advantage of new technology in music and reflecting evolving social values. The Revised Version features a brand-new orchestration and a refined script. All seventeen of the original songs remain in the revised score, with the addition of "From This Moment On," from Porter's Out of This World and the 1953 film adaptation of Kiss Me, Kate. Among the script changes, the character of Harrison Howell is now a general with political ambitions, adding some topical humor from the show's time period.





  
History
Kiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway on December 30, 1948 at the New Century Theatre, starring Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang. The show transferred to the Shubert Theatre and ran for a total of 1,077 performances. A London production opened on March 8, 1951 and ran for 400 performances at the Coliseum Theatre. The original cast album issued in 1948 by Columbia Records was the very first Broadway cast recording to be issued on LP. And in 1949, Kiss Me, Kate won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical. In 1999, a revised version of the show was revived on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre, starring Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The production was extremely well recieved, and played for 881 performances. The 1999 revival at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London played for about 300 performances, starring Marin Mazzie and Brent Barrett. In 2018, the Roundabout Theatre Company presented a newly revised version of Kiss Me, Kate starring Kelli O'Hara and Will Chase. The critically acclaimed revival ran through June 30, 2019.

Act I

In a Baltimore theatre, the cast of a musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew rehearses for the opening of the show that evening ("Another Op'nin', Another Show"). Egotistical director/producer/leading man Fred Graham stars as Petruchio, and his movie star ex-wife, Lilli Vanessi, is playing Katherine. The two argue incessantly, and Lilli is particularly angered by Fred's interest in the atractive young actress Lois Lane, who is playing Bianca. After the rehearsal, Lois's boyfriend Bill appears; he is playing Lucentio, but he missed the rehearsal because he was gambling. He tells her that he signed a $10,000 IOU in Fred's name, and Lois reprimands him ("Why Can't You Behave?").

Before the opening, Fred and Lilli meet backstage, and Lilli shows off her engagement ring from Washington insider Harrison Howell, reminding Fred that it's the anniversary of their divorce. They recall the operetta in which they met ("Wunderbar"). Two gangsters show up to collect the $10,000 IOU, and Fred replies that he never signed it. The gangsters say they’ll give him time to remember it and will return later. In her dressing room, Lilli receives flowers from Fred, and she realises that she is still "So In Love." Fred tries to prevent Lilli from reading the card that came with the flowers, because he actually intended them for Lois. But Lilli takes the card with her onstage, saying she will read it later.

The show begins ("We Open in Venice"). Baptista, Katherine and Bianca's wealthy father, will not allow his younger daughter Bianca to marry until his older daughter Katherine is married. But Kate is shrewish and ill tempered, and no man desires to marry her. Three suitors - Lucentio, Hortensio, and Gremio - try to woo Bianca, and she says that she would marry any of them ("Tom, Dick, or Harry"). Petruchio, a friend of Lucentio, arrives, expressing a desire to marry into wealth ("I've Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua"). The suitors hatch a plan for him to marry Kate.

Kate, however, has no intentions of getting married ("I Hate Men"). Nonetheless, Petruchio attempts to woo her ("Were Thine That Special Face"). Offstage, Lilli has an opportunity to read the card. She walks on stage off-cue and begins hitting Fred, who, along with the other actors, tries to remain in character as Baptista grants Petruchio permission to marry Kate.

Offstage, Lilli furiously declares she is leaving the show. However, the gangsters have reappeared, and Fred tells them that if Lilli quits, he'll have to close the show and won't be able to pay them the $10,000. The gangsters, at gunpoint, force Lilli to stay.

Onstage, Bianca and Lucentio dance together ("We Sing of Love"). Petruchio and Kate, newly wed, exit the church, followed by the gangsters, now dressed in Shakespearean costume as they keep an eye on Lilli. Petruchio implores Kate to kiss him, and she refuses. He lifts her over his shoulder and carries her offstage while she pummels his shoulder with her fists ("Kiss Me, Kate").

Act II

During the show's intermission, the cast and crew relax in the alley behind the theatre. Paul, Fred's assistant, along with a couple other crew members, lament that it's "Too Darn Hot" to meet their lovers that night. The play continues, and Petruchio exhausted from 'taming' Katherine, mourns for his now-lost bachelor life ("Where Is the Life That Late I Led?").

Offstage, Lilli's fiancé Harrison Howell looks for her. He runs into Lois, and she recognises him as a former lover but promises not to tell Lilli. Bill is shocked to overhear this, but Lois tells him that even if she is involved with other men, she is faithful to him in her own way ("Always True to You in My Fashion"). Lilli tries to explain to Howell that she is being forced to stay at the theatre by the gangsters, but Howell doesn't believe her and wants to discuss wedding plans. Fred insidiously points out how boring Lilli's life with Howell will be compared to the theatre. Bill sings a love song he has written for Lois ("Bianca").

The gangsters discover that their boss has been killed, so the IOU is no longer valid. Lilli leaves—without Howell—as Fred unsuccessfully tries to convince her to stay ("So in Love" Reprise). The gangsters get caught on stage and improvise a tribute to the Bard ("Brush Up Your Shakespeare"). The company prepares for the conclusion of the play, the wedding of Bianca and Lucentio, despite Lilli’s absence. Just in time, Lilli enters and delivers Kate’s final speech beautifully ("I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple"). Fred and Lilli wordlessly reconcile on stage, and the play ends with the two couples united (Finale).

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Church / Religious Groups
  • Youth/Camp Programs

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1940s / WWII, 16th Century / Elizabethan
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: A theatre in Baltimore, 1948 (and Padua, Italy during the Renaissance).
  • Additional Features: Stage Combat
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

3f, 7m
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Principals
(3 female; 7 male)

Hattie — Lili Vanessi’s dresser
Paul — Fred Graham’s dresser, specialty dancer & leader of solo trio for “Too Darn Hot”
Lois Lane (Bianca) — a nightclub singer in her first featured role on the stage
Bill Calhoun (Lucentio) — a Broadway hoofer, Lois’ partner and a chronic gambler
Lilli Vanessi (Katharine) — a star stage and screen actress, former wife of Fred Graham
Fred Graham (Petruchio) — writer, producer, director, actor and superman; former husband of Lili
First Man — gunman-enforcer & half the donkey for Finale Act Two
Second Man — gunman-enforcer & half the donkey for Finale Act Two
Gremio — first suitor; ensemble dancer & motorcyclist; doubles as Flynt, aide to Gen. Howell
Hortensio — second suitor; ensemble dancer & motorcyclist; doubles as Riley, aide to Gen. Howell
General Harrison Howell — career military officer, politician and Lili’s “new” man

Supporting

Pops (Stage Doorman) — ensemble; doubles as Padua Priest
Ralph (Stage Manager) — ensemble singer
Dance Captain — doubles as Gregory, servant to Petruchio; ensemble dancer & recorder player
Harry Trevor — a veteran character actor; doubles as Baptista Minola
Stagehand #1 (Electrician & Cab Driver — doubles as Nathaniel, servant to Petruchio
Stagehand #2 (Assistant Electrician) — doubles as Philip, servant to Petruchio
Stagehand #3 (Carpenter & Driver for Gen. Howell — doubles as Haberdasher
Wardrobe Lady — ensemble singer
Ensemble Singer — part of female quartet for “Bianca”; doubles as Padua Inn Waitress
Two Women — part of female quartet for “Bianca”
Four Women — ensemble dancers

Ensemble

Company SATB singers and dancers
Citizens of Padua

The 1999 Broadway production had a cast of 25 performers, including chorus. Doubling was employed as indicated.

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Large

Act I

1. Opening Act I (Part I): “Another Op’nin’, Another Show” – Stage Doorman, Three Stagehands, Hattie, & the Wardrobe Lady
1a. Opening Act One (Part II): “Another Op’nin’, Another Show” – Hattie, Paul, & SATB Ensemble
1b. Opening Act One (Part III): Another Op’nin’, Another Show – Orchestra
1c. Opening Act One (Part IV): Why Can’t You Behave? / Always True To You in My Fashion / Wunderbar / So In Love – Orchestra
1d. Opening Act One (Part V): “Another Op’nin’, Another Show” – Hattie & SATB Ensemble
2. Incidental: I Hate Men – Orchestra
2a. Incidental: I’ve Come To Wive It Wealthily in Padua – Orchestra
3. “Why Can’t You Behave?” – Lois & Bill
3a. Scene Change: Behave – Orchestra
4. “Wunderbar” – Fred & Lilli
4a. Incidental: After Wunderbar – Orchestra
5. “So In Love” – Lilli
5a. Underscore: Shrew Overture – Orchestra
6. “We Open in Venice” – Katherine, Petruchio, Bianca, & Lucentio
7. “Tom, Dick, or Harry” – Bianca, Gremio, Hortensio, & Lucentio
8. “I’ve Come To Wive It Wealthily in Padua” – Petruchio & Men
9. “I Hate Men” – Katharine
10. “Were Thine That Special Face” – Petruchio
10a. Scene Change: Venice Chaser – Orchestra
11. “Cantiamo D’Amore” – Three males & Ensemble
11a. Scene Change: Cantiamo Playoff – Orchestra
12, Finale Act One: “Kiss Me, Kate” – Petruchio, Katharine, & Ensemble

Act II

13. Entr’acte: “Kiss Me Kate” – Petruchio, Katharine, & Ensemble
14. “Too Darn Hot” – Paul, two musicians, & Ensemble
14a. Too Darn Hot (Dance) – Orchestra with Ensemble
15. Shrew Entr’acte – Orchestra
15a. Scene Change: Fashion Tag – Orchestra
16. “Where Is The Life That I Late Led” – Petruchio
17. “Always True to You in My Fashion” – Lois
17a. Encore: “Always True to You in My Fashion” – Lois
17b. Scene Change: Fashion Tag – Orchestra
18. “From This Moment On” – General Howell & Lilli
19. “Bianca” – Bill & Ensemble
19a. Incidental: General’s Entrance – Drum Cadence
20. Reprise: “So In Love” – Fred
20a. Scene Change: Venice Chaser – Orchestra
21. “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” – The Two Men
21a. First Encore: “Shakespeare” – The Two Men
21b. Second Encore: “Shakespeare” – The Two Men
22. Pavane – Orchestra
23. “I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple” – Katharine
24. Finale Act Two – Katharine, Petruchio, & Company
25. Bows – Orchestra
26. Exit Music – Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Reed 1: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Soprano & Alto Saxophone
Reed 2: Flute II, Clarinet I & Alto Saxophone
Reed 3: Flute III (or Oboe), Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet II, Soprano Saxophone (or Clarinet) & Tenor Saxophone
Reed 4: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon & Baritone Saxophone

Horn
Trumpet 1 (doubles Flugelhorn and Piccolo Trumpet)
Trumpet 2 (doubles Flugelhorn and Piccolo Trumpet)
Trombone [tenor] (doubles Bass Trombone for No. 4 “Wunderbar” and No. 22 “Pavane.” Optional Tuba for No.4 “Wunderbar.”)

Percussion 1 & 2: (* indicates shared instruments)
I – Trap Drums:
Bass Drum
Snare Drum (brushes, sticks & mallets)
Tom Toms
Conga (for stage cue)
Suspended Cymbals (at least 4: crash, splash, sizzle & Chinese)
Finger Cymbals
Hi-Hat
Mark Tree
Bell Tree
Triangle
Gong
Tambourine
Pandeiro
Dumbek
*Temple Blocks (4)
Wood Blocks (2)
Cow Bell
*Crotale
Duck Call
*Cabasa
Whip
*Sandpaper Blocks
Guiro (optional)
Sleigh Bells

II – Mallet Instruments:
Timpani (2 pedal drums)
Glockenspiel (Bells)
Vibraphone
Xylophone
Marimba (optional)
*Crotale
Suspended Cymbals (crash, splash, sizzle & Chinese)
Finger Cymbals
Mark Tree
Bell Tree
Triangle
Wood Blocks (horse hooves)
*Temple Blocks
*Sandpaper Blocks
Bass Drum (Gran Cassa) w/ attached Cymbal)
Rainstick
Rattle
Ratchet
Siren
Mouth Siren
Shaker
*Cabasa
Bulb Horn
Fight Bell
Ship’s Bell
Brass Bell (or “G” Chime)
Steel Plate

Harp
Guitar (doubling Mandolin & Lute or Nylon Guitar)
Keyboard Synthesizer (principally orchestra harmonic rhythm piano) with registrations for: Piano, Tack Piano (Honky Tonk Piano), Celeste, Harpsichord, Accordion (French Musette), Strings, Violin Sound, Acoustic/Electric Piano combination, Flute/Clarinet combination, Glock/Flute combination & Bass Drum (Gran Cassa).

Violins I & II
Viola (doubling Violin)
Cello
Bass

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
27 Libretto/Vocal Score
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Horn
1 Trumpet 1
1 Trumpet 2
1 Trombone
2 Percussion 1&2
1 Harp
1 Guitar
1 Keyboard
3 Violins 1&2 Act 1
3 Violins 1&2 Act 2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass
1 Optional String Substitute Keyboard Synthesizer part covering the music for Violins I & II, Viola and Cello


Piano Only
1 Piano/Conductor Score
27 Libretto/Vocal Book


Optional Performance Tracks:
Performance Tracks are available through MT Pit at an additional fee. Interested licensees should reach out to MT Pit directly to secure Performance Tracks.

Media

Music Samples

Videos

  • Kiss Me, Kate - 2019 Broadway

  • "Bianca"

  • "Too Darn Hot" 2019 Tony Awards

  • "Tom, Dick or Harry"

  • "So In Love"

  • Kiss Me, Kate - Theatrical Trailer

More videos +

Photos

  • Kiss Me, Kate (Revised 1999)

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Kiss Me, Kate (Revised 1999)

    Credit: Joan Marcus

More

Authors

Cole Porter

Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana in 1891 and died in Hollywood 73 years later. In between, he wrote some of the most memorable songs ever heard on stage or screen, among them “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine,” “You’re The Top,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Love For Sale,” and “Just One of Those Things.” D ...

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Samuel Spewack

Samuel Spewack (1899-1971) and Bella Spewack (1899-1990) met while working as journalists and married in 1922. Bella’s youth was chronicled in Streets: A Memoir of the Lower East Side (1995, Feminist Press). Their first play, Solitaire Man, premiered in 1926. Clear All Wires (1932) became ...

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Bella Spewack

Bella Spewack (1899-1990) and Samuel Spewack (1899-1971) met while working as journalists and married in 1922. Bella’s youth was chronicled in Streets: A Memoir of the Lower East Side (1995, Feminist Press). Their first play, Solitaire Man, premiered in 1926. Clear All Wires (1932) became ...

View full profile

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