The Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Kiss Me, Kate will open in October 2001 at London's Victoria Palace, producer Roger Berlind told Playbill On-Line March 15. "We're zeroing in on Oct. 30" for an opening date, said Berlind. The first preview would be sometime earlier in the month.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, who won a Tony for his portrayal of Fred/Petruchio, will repeat his role in the West End. Mitchell told Playbill On-Line March 15 that he planned to begin work on the London Kate directly after his contract with the Broadway-bound production of August Wilson's Kind Hedley II ends in early September. Mitchell plays the title role in the drama, due on Broadway on April 10.
Berlind stated his hope that all four of the Broadway leads of Kate — Mitchell, Marin Mazzie, Michael Berresse and Amy Spanger — would repeat their performances in London, pending approval from British Equity, of course.
Mitchell left the Broadway company Jan. 28, 2001. Burke Moses took his place. The revival, directed by Michael Blakemore and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, celebrated its first anniversary at the Martin Beck Theatre Nov. 18.
* As previously reported, Rex Smith and Rachel York will play the egotistical, feuding leads in Kiss Me, Kate when the hit Broadway musical embarks on its national tour starting in June.
Smith, who played Danny Zuko in the original Grease and Frederick in both the stage and movie versions of Joseph Papp's pop and popular Pirates of Penzance, will be Fred Graham, an actor with an eye for the ladies and a sharp tongue for his ex-wife - who's touring in the same show. York, who came to the fore in City of Angels and later won a Drama Desk Award as Best Featured Actress in Victor/Victoria, plays Lilli, who has a love-hate relationship with her ex-hubby, Smith.
Smith and York had a hate-hate relationship in their last teaming: he was the malevolent Chauvelin and she his former squeeze, Marguerite, in The Scarlet Pimpernel.
As for the KMK tour, New Haven will be the first stop, in June, followed by such cities as Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco, according to tour press reps Tanya Grubich and Molly Haydon. Roger Berlind and Roger Horchow are producing.
Alfred Drake starred in the original Broadway production on Kate in 1948.