Personally, I am a very big fan of a “comedy of errors” play, and there is no one more well versed in that genre than William Shakespeare. So when I heard that KISS ME, KATE, playing at the UC Davis Health Pavilion, was based on a classic Shakespearean play, my interest was piqued.
KISS ME, KATE, written by Bella and Samuel Spewack with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, is loosely based on The Taming of the Shrew and is filled with laughs throughout. The play starts by introducing Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi who are divorced actors that are cast as the leads in The Taming of the Shrew. The musical is truly a play within a play as we see them act out The Shakespeare classic while we also get to see the comedic drama that unfolds backstage.
The dance numbers in KISS ME, KATE had my jaw on the floor. There were multiple (so many that I lost count) complex and difficult dance numbers throughout the musical and what made it even more impressive was that these numbers were often performed in the middle or near the end of a song. My personal favorite was in the during “Too Darn Hot”. This number was filled with high energy flips, kicks, swing dancing, and after dancing their hearts out they could wrap up the song seamlessly. It goes to show how much hard work these actors put into making the show top notch.
And there was no shortage of laughs and lightheartedness. The songs are catchy and some of them, like “Always True to You in My Fashion” sung by Emma Degerstedt (Lois Lane) and Michael Starr (Bill Calhoun), are still stuck in my head. The show even incorporates music into the scenes of The Taming of the Shrew to help to show the parallels between the characters and the ones they are playing on stage. The song “I Hate Men” performed by Kristen Beth Williams (Lilli Vanessi/Katharine) had me rolling on the floor as it portrayed Katharine’s demeanor in the play as well as how Lilli was feeling in that moment towards Fred.
KISS ME, KATE plays with the idea of relationships, personally identity, and is very entertaining. If you’re looking for an American classic with a whole lot of hilarity and charm, then you don’t want to miss Broadway at Music Circus’s KISS ME, KATE playing through July 17. Click here to learn more.