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Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" Bows In At Westchester Broadway Theatre With None of Its Charm Lost

From left: Christianne Tisdale (as Lilli/Kate), William Michals (as Fred/Petruchio), Missy Dowse (as Lois/Bianca), and Brian Ogilvie (as Bill/Lucentio).
From left: Christianne Tisdale (as Lilli/Kate), William Michals (as Fred/Petruchio), Missy Dowse (as Lois/Bianca), and Brian Ogilvie (as Bill/Lucentio).
"Kiss Me Kate," the enduring Cole Porter play-within-a-play, opened this week at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford and it is a joy to watch.  

Revivals of this 65-year-old Broadway bright light have been staged in recent years and a 1953 movie version, starring Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson, still appears occasionally on the television screen. Many in the WBT audience last night probably had seen Kiss Me Kate at least once before. But with such hit songs and a remarkable score, it is no wonder theater-goers will come to see this musical again.

Kiss Me Kate debuted on Broadway in December, 1948 starring Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk, and Harold Lang. It ran for 1070 performances and captured five Tony awards.

The play revolves around a divorced couple who battle offstage and on as they perform in a musical adaption of Shakespeare'sThe Taming of the Shrew.

Songs in this show include:

Act I
• Another Op'nin', Another Show
• Why Can't You Behave 
• Wunderbar
• So in Love
• We Open in Venice
• Tom, Dick or Harry
• I Hate Men 

Act II

• Too Darned Hot
• Where is the Life That Late I Led
• Always True To You In My Fashion
• From This Moment On
• So in Love 
• Brush Up Your Shakespeare

"So in Love," is sung in the first act by Christianne Tisdale (playing Lilli Vanessi) and by William Michals  (playing Fred Graham) in the second act. The song was a huge hit in its day and was recorded by many leading vocalists including Patti Page, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Gordon MacRae and Dinah Shore. 

Tisdale and Michals, both with long and impressive acting credentials, are convincing as the warring couple and are supported by a hard-working cast who execute many numbers such as "We Open in Venice" with zeal and fervor.

Some critic haves overlooked "We Open in Venice" in commenting about this play but its catchy repetitive lines keep echoing through my head.

The two gangsters, Michael Kubala and Michael J. Farina, aren't quite show stealers but they do contribute strongly to the fun. If you haven't seen this show or the movie or even if you have, don't miss this WBT revival. It runs until November 3.

Kiss Me Kate will be followed by Irving Berlin's White Christmas (from November 7, 2013 to January 5, 2014). 

Theater management smartly surveyed some of its customers to learn their preferences for next year's shows. Had I participated in the voting, Oklahoma and Carousel would have been on my wish list. Here are the theater's 2014 picks.

The 2014 play list
  1. January 16 to February 23. Titanic
  2. February 27 to May 4. Ragtime
  3. May 8 to July 27. Mary Poppins
  4. July 31 to September 21. The Wizard of Oz
  5. September 25 to November 30. South Pacific*
  6. December 4 to December 28. Christmas Show (details to be announced)
  7. December 31 to January 11, 2015. South Pacific returns
*South Pacific appears before and after a Christmas Show break in the schedule.

Ticket prices include lunch or dinner and range from $54 to $80 per person plus tax, depending on day and time chosen. For reservations, call 914-592-2222. 

Reservations can also be made at www.BroadwayTheatre.com. For group reservations, call 592-2225. For luxury box reservations, call 592-8730. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances.

Westchester Broadway Theatre, 1 Broadway Plaza (175 Clearbrook Road), Elmsford. Box office: (914) 592-2222.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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