Wunderbar! Married Sutherlands Are Catty Couple in St. Louis Kiss Me, Kate

News   Wunderbar! Married Sutherlands Are Catty Couple in St. Louis Kiss Me, Kate The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate, featuring real-life married couple Brian and Diane Sutherland as bickering divorced actors putting on a show, begins Nov. 28 for a run through Dec. 28.
Brian and Diane Sutherland spar (and star) in Kiss Me, Kate.
Brian and Diane Sutherland spar (and star) in Kiss Me, Kate.

The new production uses the 1999 Broadway revival script.

The married Sutherlands aren't the only couples attached to the staging: Newlyweds David Larsen (who plays Bill Calhoun) and Amanda Kloots (of the ensemble) share the stage, and director Victoria Bussert is working with husband Dale Rieling, who is the musical director.

Both Larsen and Kloots appeared in Broadway's Good Vibrations.

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Diane Sutherland (the former Diane Fratantoni) appeared in Broadway's A Chorus Line, Cats, She Loves Me and The Light in the Piazza, and Brian Sutherland appeared in Broadway's Dance a Little Closer, Victor/Victoria, Steel Pier, 1776 and in the recent regional Maltby and Shire revue, A Time for Love. They toured together in the national tour of Light in the Piazza and the 50th anniversary production of Guys and Dolls (she was Sarah, he was Sky). In Kiss Me, Kate, the Sutherlands play dual roles: actors Lilli and Fred, and (in the musical version of The Taming of the Shrew) Kate and Petruchio.

"When the suave and charming actor Fred Graham is reunited with his ex-wife, the glamorous and high-tempered Lilli Vanessi, in a Broadway-bound musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, the chemistry couldn't be better," according to St. Louis Rep. "Unfortunately, it's the sort of chemistry that leads to violent explosions — the former lovers simply can't stand each other! Meanwhile, ensemble members Lois Lane and Bill Calhoun are trying to keep their romance afloat, even though he can't seem to behave and she struggles to stay true to him — in her fashion."

The libretto is by Samuel and Bella Spewack. The Cole Porter score includes "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "So In Love," "Wunderbar," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" and the sizzling "Too Darn Hot."

The cast of Kiss Me, Kate at The Rep also boasts Stacey Sargeant (as Hattie), Darryl Reuben Hall (as Paul), John Woodson (as Ralph/Harrison Howell), Jessica Leigh Brown (as Lois Lane), Whit Reichert, Joneal Joplin (Gangster #1), Steve Isom (Gangster #2), Ben Nordstrom, Haven Eaves, Andrew Cao, Tyler Adcock, Michael Baxter, Megan Kane and Kelli Stryker.

The production is choreographed by Ralph Perkins, 2006 Kevin Kline Award nominee for his choreography for The Rep's Urinetown.

The artistic staff includes John Ezell, scenic designer; Dorothy Marshall Englis, costume designer; Peter Sargent, lighting designer; Tori Meyer, sound designer; Glenn Dunn, stage manager; and Shannon B. Sturgis, assistant stage manager.

Performances of Kiss Me, Kate play the Browning Mainstage of the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, 130 Edgar Road, in the Webster Groves area of St. Louis.

For more information call (314) 968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org.

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