Watkins, according to a press representative for the New Jersey theatre, will play Lois Lane/Bianca with Ragusa as Lilli Vanessi/Kate. Additional casting is expected shortly.
Kiss Me, Kate will play the Paper Mill April 16-May 18. James Brennan will direct the classic musical with choreography by Patti Colombo.
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, according to the Paper Mill, is described as such: "This charming story follows two musical theatre actors — once married, now divorced — as they star together in a Broadway-bound musical version of Shakespeare's play. Soon, tensions mount and tempers flare, until it seems no amount of acting can save this show. But when two gangsters arrive to settle an old score, success becomes a matter of survival!"
Amanda Watkins has been seen on Broadway in Cats, Beauty and the Beast, Grease!, Cabaret and Urinetown. Michele Ragusa's Broadway credits include Cyrano—The Musical, Titanic, Ragtime, A Class Act and Urinetown. The Paper Mill Playhouse is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. For more information or to purchase tickets call (973) 376-4343 or visit www.papermill.org.