A musical version of “The Taming of the Shrew” is about to open in Baltimore. In the show with producer- actor Fred Graham are his former wife, Lilli; Lois, a singer in whom he is interested; and Bill Calhoune, who is Lois’s interest. The irresponsible Bill informs Lois that he has signed Fred’s name to a 10,000 dollar IOU for gambling debts. She begs him to reform. Fred and Lilli patch up their differences as they reminisce nostalgically about other shows in which they have appeared together. Fred sends a bouquet to Lois, which is delivered in error to Lilli. On stage as Katharine, Lilli discovers that the bouquet was meant for Lois and threatens to leave the show. Her departure is prevented by two gangsters who have come to collect the IOU with Fred’s signature. As the first Act ends she is raging, both in character and reality.
Petruchio ( played by Fred Graham) although just married to Katharine, and beginning his tempestuous wedded life, begins to yearn for his life as a single man. Because of a sudden change in gang administration the gangsters tear up the now worthless IOU and Lilli prepares to walk out on the show as Fred muses on his love for her. The gangsters sing the always show-stopping ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’. As the show comes to close, Lilli unexpectedly returns and in Katharine’s words expresses her intention of returning to her husband.
The great Cole Porter poured a huge amount of his best music into Kiss Me Kate. The score scintillates with hits like “Wunderbar”, “Always True To You In My Fashion”, “Why Can’t You Behave”, “Too Darned Hot” ….. a great stream of lovely melody allied to words by the wittiest lyricist America ever produced.
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