The mystery is over! The answer to who would play Fred Graham/Petruchio to Kelli O’Hara’s Lilli Vanessi/Kate in the 2019 Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Kiss Me, Kate has been announced. Tony-nominee Will Chase will take-on the role of the boisterous, arrogant director/actor who is cast opposite of his ex-wife in a production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. The musical, which begins previews on February 14, 2019 with a March 14, 2019 opening, will play at Broadway’s Studio 54 for a limited engagement ending on June 2.
Will Chase was a likely choice for the role, having performed it opposite O’Hara in a 2016 benefit concert directed by Scott Ellis who will helm this production. Chase, who was Tony-nominated for his role as John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, is a mainstay of the Broadway musical, having also appeared in Something Rotten, Billy Elliot, Aida, Lennon, Nice Work If You Can Get It, High Fidelity, The Full Monty, Miss Saigon, and Rent. Television credits include appearances on American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace, Stranger Things and The Deuce. He starred in the ABC drama Time After Time and as country star “Luke Wheeler” on Nashville. Other television appearances include recurring roles on Quantico, The Good Wife, Rescue Me, and as Michael Swift on the Broadway-inspired Smash.
The creative team includes David Rockwell (Sets), Jeff Mahshie (Costumes), Donald Holder (Lighting), Brian Ronan (Sound), and David Brian Brown (Hair & Wig design). Choreography will be provided by Warren Carlyle and music direction by Paul Gemignani. Additional cast and creative staff will be announced at a later date.
Featuring an unforgettable score by Cole Porter and a witty book by Sam and Belle Spewack drawing from Shakespeare’s spirited comedy, Kiss Me, Kate was the first musical to win the Tony Award for Best Musical. The original production starred Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison in the roles that will now be inhabited by Chase and O’Hara, respectively. That production ran for 1,077 performances. A 1999 Tony-winning revival starred Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie.
Kiss Me, Kate is brimming with a plethora of Cole Porter standards including So In Love,” “Wunderbar,” “Too Darn Hot,” “Where is the Life That Late I Led?”, “Always True to You (in My Fashion),” and the show-stopping “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.