CRT Presents ‘Kiss Me Kate’

Clackamas Repertory Theatre continues its ninth season Saturday, August 3, with "Kiss Me Kate" by Cole Porter and Bella and Sam Spewack.

Directed by David Smith-English, the show features Portland favorite Leif Norby as Fred/Petruchio and exciting newcomer Merideth Kaye Clark as Lilli/Kate.

The original idea for "Kiss Me Kate" came to producer Arthur Saint-Subber when he was working in a production of "Taming of the Shrew" with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.  He noticed their backstage relationship seemed to mirror the parts they were playing on stage.  They would be having a heated argument, go on as Kate and Petruchio, then exit and pick up the quarrel where they left off, never missing a beat.

Saint-Subber asked Bella Spewack to write the book for a play about a feuding theatrical couple acting in a musical production of "The Taming of the Shrew" as Kate and Petruchio.  Bella worked on the on-stage and off-stage worlds and Sam Spewack concentrated on the low-brow humor of the two gangsters.

But the real stars of the work are the songs. Cole Porter was unusual in that he wrote both the lyrics and music. Known for his suave and urbane lyrics and supple melodies, he also had an incomparable capacity for unusual rhymes. He was the master of the revelatory song that distills a character's essence to an easy-to grasp form and his songs for "Kate" were written in response to Rodgers and Hammerstein's integrated musical "Oklahoma!"  It was the first of his shows in which the lyrics and the music were definitely connected to the script.  The best known is the classic "Too Darn Hot;" others include "Wunderbar," "Another Op'nin', Another Show," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare."

"Kiss Me Kate" ran for 1,070 performances and won five Tony Awards in 1949: Best Musical, Best Author, Best Composer and Lyricist, Best Producers and Best Costumes. 

"Kiss Me Kate" also features CRT favorites Doren Elias (Tevye) and Michael Mitchell (Judd) as Gangsters #1 and #2, and James Sharinghousen ("Cabaret's' Emcee) as Bill. The show runs through August 25. CRT continues its season in late September with the farce "The 39 Steps." CRT performances take place Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. All performances are in the Osterman Theatre at Clackamas Community College. Tickets may be purchased by calling 503-594-6047 or at www.clackamasrep.org.  The low-price preview is August 1. August 2 is sold out.

Contact the Public Affairs Office

Oregon City - 19600 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon 97045

Email us: publicaffairs@clackamas.edu

Call us: 503-594-6000

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