BREAKING NEWS: Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara is returning to Broadway as “Lilli Vanessi” in a brand new revival of the classic Cole Porter musical comedy Kiss Me Kate from the Roundabout Theatre Company. The new production is slated for ANOTHER OP’NIN’ in February 2019. No official dates or what Roundabout venue will the production go in to.
KISS ME KATE is a madcap “Play Within A Play” themed musical comedy following a divorced husband and wife ending up in a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew. It was considered as Cole Porter’s reply back to Rodgers & Hammerstein’s legendary work. Along with Porter’s iconic score, the show features a book by Samuel and Bella Spewack. The musical features some of the most beloved songs written for the stage including ANOTHER OP’NIN, ANOTHER SHOW, WHY CAN’T YOU BEHAVE, SO IN LOVE, I HATE MEN, TOO DARN HOT, and much more.
Following a 3 1/2 week tryout in Philadelphia, the original production opened on Broadway at the New Century Theatre in 1948 running for 1,077 performances. The show originally starred Alfred Drake as “Fred Graham”, Patricia Morison as “Lilli Vanessi”, Harold Lang as “Bill Calhoun”, and Lisa Kirk as “Lois Lane”. The show won all 5 of it’s 1949 Tony Awards nominations including Best Musical.
Following the success of the original production, the show went on to make audiences laugh in London’s West End, Australia, and around the world becoming an instant hit. The show would late be revived twice on Broadway. The first revival ran for only 8 performances in 1952 at the Broadway Theatre. This cast was led by Robert Wright as “Fred Graham”, Holly Harris as “Lilli Vanessi”, Frank Derbas as “Bill Calhoun”, and Marilyn Day as “Lois Lane”. The production did not receive any Tony Awards that year.
The most recent Broadway revival of KISS ME KATE happened in 1999 at the Martin Beck Theatre (currently the Al Hirschfeld Theatre) running for a total of 909 performances. This cast was led by Brian Stokes Mitchell Wright as “Fred Graham” reuniting with his original Ragtime the Musical original leading lady Marin Mazzie as “Lilli Vanessi”, Michael Berresse as “Bill Calhoun”, and Amy Spanger as “Lois Lane”. This revival was nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2000 winning 5 including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Brian Stokes Mitchell).
The musical was also a smash hit on the big screen numerous times. The original film version of KISS ME KATE was released in 1953. The cast featured Howard Keel as “Fred Graham”, Kathryn Grayson as “Lilli Vanessi”, Tommy Rall as “Bill Calhoun”, and Ann Miller as “Lois Lane”. In addition, there were 4 TV productions in 1958 on Hallmark (featuring Alfred Drake and Patricia Morrison reprising their Broadway performances), in 1964 for BBC (starring Howard Keel and Patricia Morrison reprising their roles once more), in 1968 (with Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence), and in 2003 for Great Performances l PBS with a filmed performance of the London company of the 1999 Broadway revival (led by Brent Barrett and Rachel York).
In addition for Kelli O’Hara, the production will mark as her 2nd Broadway show for Roundabout Theatre Company. She previously starred as “Babe Williams” in the company’s recent revival of The Pajama Game.
Who is excited?!
Kelli O?Hara will star in a new Broadway revival of ?Kiss Me, Kate,? playing one of the lead roles in a Roundabout Theater Company production set for spring 2019. O?Hara ret?
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