It's Thursday, and time again for a visit with Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us in the studio each week with her reviews of the region's theatrical endeavors. This week, she spotlights the new production of Kiss Me, Kate, the Bard-inspired musical now on stage at Annapolis Shakespeare Company.
Kiss Me, Kate is the "backstage" story of the production of a fictional musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, fueled by the conflicts, on-stage and off, between the show's director, producer and star, and his temperamental leading lady (and ex-wife).
Written by Samuel and Bella Spewack, with music and lyrics by the inimitable Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway in 1948 and enjoyed a long and successful initial run. In 1949, it won five Tony Awards, including the first Tony ever presented for Best Musical. Ever since, it has been a frequent and internationally popular choice for revivals.
Directed and choreographed for Annapolis Shakespeare Company by Sally Boyett, with musical direction by Marc Irwin, Kiss Me Kate features a 17-member cast led by Benjamin Russell as producer Fred Graham and Robin Weiner as his ex-wife and star, Lilli Vanessi.
Kiss Me Kate continues at Annapolis Shakespeare Company through Sunday June 3.