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
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
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
"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
"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.