A dazzling new production of Cole Porter’s classic musical comedy, Kiss Me, Kate, is set to heat up stages across England from September 2015.
The perfect way to ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare,’ Kiss Me, Kate opens at Leeds Grand Theatre in September, before touring to Theatre Royal Newcastle, The Lowry Salford, and Theatre Royal Nottingham.
Set both on and off-stage during the production of a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate revolves around the tempestuous love lives of actor-manager Fred Graham and his leading lady and ex-wife, Lilli Vanessi. Throw in Fred’s current paramour Lois Lane, her gambler boyfriend Bill – and a couple of gangsters who somehow get caught up in the show – and the stage is set for a funny and farcical battle of the sexes!
A charming homage to the sparkling wit of Shakespeare and an irresistible celebration of the joy and madness of working in theatre, Cole Porter’s witty, jazz-inflected score features hit after hit, with show-stopping numbers including ‘Another Op’nin’ Another Show,’ ‘So in Love,’ ‘Always True to You in My Fashion’ and ‘Too Darn Hot.’
It will be performed by a cast of truly outstanding opera and West End singers, with the full scale Orchestra of Opera North bringing the magical sound of Broadway and the golden age of MGM musicals to life. This new production is conducted by David Charles Abell (Sweeney Todd, ENO, Fiddler on the Roof, Grange Park Opera) and directed by Jo Davies, who is responsible for a string of recent five-star successes for Opera North, including Ruddigore, Carousel and The Marriage of Figaro.
New choreography is by Will Tuckett (Royal Ballet, English National Ballet) whose recent shows include West Side Story (Sage Gateshead). Tuckett has worked as movement and puppet director for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe, and his many works for the Royal Ballet include The Crucible, The Seven Deadly Sins and The Turn of the Screw. In the 2013/14 Season his children’s ballet The Wind in the Willows, created for the Linbury Studio Theatre in 2002, became the Royal Opera House’s first West End transfer.
Casting brings together top talent from the worlds of both opera and the West End, headed by Jeni Bern as Lilli Vanessi/Katherine and Quirijn de Lang as Fred Graham/Petruchio. Jeni’s roles at Opera North have included Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Quirijn has most recently played Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro.
They are joined by Tiffany Graves as Lois Lane/Bianca, most recently seen as Ulla in The Producers 2015 UK tour; with previous West End roles including both Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart in Chicago; Sweet Charity at the Theatre Royal Haymarket; and Killer Queen in We Will Rock You.
Bill Calhoun/Lucentio is played by fast-rising musical theatre star Ashley Day, who recently played the lead role of Curly in Oklahoma! to critical acclaim (Royal and Derngate and UK Tour) and has previously appeared as Elder Price in The Book of Mormon in the West End.
The role of Paul will be played by Wayne Robinson (Thriller Live, Lyric Theatre and International Tour) and Katie Kerr plays Hattie (Sweeney Todd, English National Opera). Hortensio and Gremio are played respectively by Callum Train (Munkustrap, Cats, West End and UK Tour) and Emmanuel Kojo (Clarence, The Scottsboro Boys, West End). James Hayes, who has made many appearances with the RSC and National Theatre in a career spanning over 50 years, plays Harry Trevor/ Baptista.
Tickets are now on sale at Salford and Newcastle. Tickets for Leeds and Nottingham go on sale on 7 July.
KISS ME, KATE
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack
Critical edition by David Charles Abell and Seann Alderking
Cast and Production Team includes:
Lilli Vanessi/ KatherineJeni Bern
Fred Graham/Petruchio Quirijn de Lang
Lois Lane/ BiancaTiffany Graves
Bill Calhoun / Lucentio Ashley Day
Harry Trevor / BaptistaJames Hayes
GregoryJoshua Da Costa
Phillip / Swing DancerEmile Ruddock
DancersMatthew John Gregory
Jamie Emma McDonald
Conductor David Charles Abell
Director Jo Davies
Choreographer Will Tuckett
Set and Costume Designer Colin Richmond
Lighting DesignerBen Cracknell
Kiss Me, Kate is a co-production with Welsh National Opera
Leeds Grand Theatre
Mon 21 SepKiss Me, Kate (preview)7.15pm
Wed 23 Sep Kiss Me, Kate (preview)7.15pm
Thu 24 SepKiss Me, Kate (press night)7.15pm
Fri 25 SepKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Sat 3 OctKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Wed 21 OctKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Fri 30 OctKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Sat 31 OctKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Fri 6 NovKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Sat 7 NovKiss Me, Kate2.15pm
Sat 7 NovKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
The Lowry, Salford Quays
Fri 13 NovKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Sat 14 NovKiss Me, Kate2.15pm
Sat 14 NovKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Theatre Royal, Nottingham
Fri 20 NovKiss Me, Kate7.15pm
Sat 21 NovKiss Me, Kate2.15pm
Sat 21 NovKiss Me, Kate7.15pm