Director Scott Ellis and the Roundabout Theatre Company have a habit of putting together tremendous musicals. Their latest classic musical remounting is Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate.” But as we have recently observed many of these works come with problematic histories as we’ve recognized issues with misogyony and the patriarchy. Just look at “Carousel” (spousal abuse), “Gigi” (the training of a young prostitute), “My Fair Lady” and it’s problematic ending.
“Kiss Me, Kate” is an entirely different level based on a troupe of players performing the Bard’s own problematic play – “The Taming of the Shrew.” Worse yet, a number of scenes feature text from the original and the musical echos the Shrew as a man tries to control a women through coercion.
It’s not perfect, but the Roundabout has made alterations in the script to adapt and much of the rest is done with a wink and nudge to slide in just acceptable enough. It is helped immensely by the sweet, sweet tunes by Cole Porter. Another Op’nin’, Another Show; Tom, Dick or Harry; I Hate Men; Too Darn Hot; Bianca; Brush Up Your Shakespeare and so many others are musical classics.
This production is exceptional with star turns by Kelli O’Hara, Will Chase, and Corbin Bleu and the entire cast is solid. This production is currently scheduled to play only through July so book your tickets now to see this magnificent mounting. I saw the most recent revival with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie. It was magnificent in so many ways and this production should not be missed. Go see it!