Kiss Me, Kate, the Cole Porter musical loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, will receive a Broadway revival courtesy of the Roundabout Theatre Company. Set to open in February of 2019, the musical will feature Tony-winner Kelli O’Hara (The King and I) as the dual lead role of diva actress Lilli Vanessi and the tempestuous shrew Kate. Roundabout’s Associate Artistic Director Scott Ellis will direct the production and choreography will be by Tony winner Warren Carlyle.
“Kelli O’Hara is inarguably one of the best actresses in the American theater and a dear friend to Roundabout,” said Artistic Director Todd Haimes. “We have been talking about projects for years and it is particularly thrilling to celebrate her return to Roundabout in a role that will showcase her impeccable range and virtuosic talent as a singer, actress, and comedienne, just as she did in our production of The Pajama Game a decade ago. Putting together a season is always a puzzle of timing and availability, with Roundabout’s particular-pendulum swinging among revivals, a commitment to new work and when it’s right, musicals. The stars aligned on Kiss Me, Kate – and we are honored to have my beloved colleagues Scott Ellis, Warren Carlyle and Kelli O’Hara back at Roundabout.”
Kelli O’Hara has been seen on Broadway in The Pajama Game, The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific, The Bridges of Madison County, and most-recently The King and I for which she won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
Featuring a book by Sam and Bella Spewack, and music and lyrics by Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate originally opened on Broadway in 1948, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical. The story is a show-within-a-show, the story of a theatrical troupe putting on a musical production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Actress Lilli Vanessi has been secured to play the title character in the production, set to be directed by her arrogant ex-husband Fred Graham who will also play her romantic interest in the piece. Their volatile relationship begins to parallel the conflicts of their respective characters in the Bard’s story, the ferocity of their contempt possibly reigniting their romance.
Cole Porter, the witty and sophisticated composer-lyricist, created many of his most-beloved show tunes for Kiss Me, Kate, including “Too Darn Hot,” “Wunderbar,” “So In Love,” “Where is the Life that Late I Led?” and “Always True To You In My Fashion.”
The revival’s venue and additional cast will be announced at-a-later-date.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.