The classic musical, presented by "Great Performances," will be seen in the metropolitan New York City area on WNET/Thirteen beginning at 8 PM ET. Recorded live during its London engagement at the Victoria Palace, the TV Kate stars Brent Barrett as Fred Graham, Rachel York as Lilli Vanessi, Nancy Anderson as Lois Lane and Michael Berresse as Bill Calhoun. Directed by Michael Blakemore, the London production was based on New York's 1999 Tony-winning revival, which cast Brian Stokes Mitchell, who won a Tony for his work, and Marin Mazzie in the lead roles.
Loosely based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate originally opened at Broadway's New Century Theatre on Dec. 30, 1948. Featuring a score by Cole Porter and a book by Samuel and Bella Spewack, Kate ran 1,077 performances. The original cast included Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang. The classic Porter score includes such tunes as "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "Too Darn Hot," "Wunderbar," "So in Love," "Always True to You in My Fashion," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," "Why Can't You Behave?,""We Open in Venice," "Tom, Dick or Harry," "I Hate Men" and "Where Is the Life that Late I Led?"
Kiss Me, Kate — a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York, The Performance Company, and NHK — was directed for television by Chris Hunt. The creative team comprised Martin Pakledinaz (costume design), Don Sebesky (orchestrations), Robin Wagner (scenic design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Gareth Valentine (musical direction) and Kathleen Marshall (choreography).