The Cowichan Musical Society would like
to dedicate our production of Kiss Me, Kate! to the memory of
Lloyd Gardner (1938-2003), long time CMS supporter and friend. Lloyd worked
his magic behind his video camera capturing our shows and producing professional
video images for our cast and crew to enjoy.
The idea for Kiss Me, Kate! was planted in the mind of producer Saint Subber in 1935. While working as a stagehand for the Theatre Giuld's production of The Taming of the Shrew, Subber noticed that the stars of the show, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, had a backstage relationship that was almost as tempestuous as the one they had onstage while portraying Shakespeare's famous quarrelling couple.
Samuel and Bella Spewack wrote the libretto for Kiss Me, Kate!. Their libretto creates a play within a play that follows the lives of egotistical actor/ producer Fred Graham and his temperamental co-star and ex-wife, Lili Vanessa. Cole Porter's brilliant score borrows freely from Shakespeare's dialogue for musical number that take place "onstage", but makes use of more modern syntax in the "backstage" numbers.
Kiss Me, Kate! opened at the New Century Theatre on December 30th, 1948, with Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison in the lead roles. The production went on to win 5 Tony Awards before closing on July 28th, 1951 after 1,070 performances. The show was remounted at the London Coliseum on March 8th, 1951 and ran for another 400 performances. The 1953 film version featured Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson. A 1999 Broadway revival featured Brian Stokes and Marin Mazzie.
- Drew Kemp
Music director - Garth Williams