The long talked-about casting of Mazzie and Mitchell (who were Tony nominated for playing Mother and Coalhouse in Ragtime) puts the performers in roles of sparring partners: They play a divorced husband wife acting team fighting off-stage and on during a Baltimore tryout for a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew.
Blakemore's musical projects have included The Life and City of Angels. He also directed Noises Off, Joe Egg and Lettice & Lovage for Broadway and Death Defying Acts Off Broadway. Marshall is known as artistic director of the popular "Encores!" musical theatre concert series. In February, she staged Rodgers and Hart's Babes in Arms for "Encores!"
On Broadway, Marshall choreographed 1776 and Swinging on a Star.
Designers are Robin Wagner (sets), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting) and Tony Meola (sound). Paul Gemignani will conduct the classic score.
Kiss Me, Kate was Porter's greatest triumph and his most fully integrated book musical, coming late in his career after hits in the 1920s and 1930s with Paris, Fifty Million Frenchmen, Jubilee and Anything Goes.
The musical tells of the tempestuous relationship between estranged Fred and Lilli, touring in a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, and the secondary leads, Bill and Lois, on the rocks because of his gambling habit and her wandering eye.
The show is said to have been inspired by the contentious behavior of acting greats Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.
Songs from the score include "Why Can't You Behave?," "Wunderbar," "Another Openin', Another Show," "So in Love," "Were Thine That Special Face," "Too Darn Hot," "Where Is The Life That Late I Led?," "Always True to You in My Fashion" and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare."
The 1953 film version interpolated the song, "From This Moment On," cut from Porter's Out of This World. A song called "We Shall Never Be Younger" was written for Kiss Me, Kate but went unused. The tune has been heard in cabarets and in the revue, Cole.
Several years ago, John McGlinn conducted a studio cast and recorded the entire score -- including such cut material as "What Does Your Servant Dream About?," "I'm Afraid, Sweetheart, I Love You," "We Shall Never Be Younger," "If Ever Married I'm" and "A Woman's Career" -- for a two-disc release on the EMI/Angel label.