This is the perfect time of year to watch the musical number, “It’s Too Darn Hot” from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, now at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham. The young, scantily-clad performers are an absolute pleasure! Such a racy number! You may not see this much excitement in Chatham until the County Fair comes to town!
(Or, maybe Full Monty next month…)
This is Mac-Haydn’s third production this year, and I do not know if they planned it or not, but three productions in a row where we get a glimpse into the backstage/off-screen/breaking-the-fourth-wall side of the performers inside the theater. First A Chorus Line, with its backstage performer-picking process, then Urinetown, breaking down the fourth wall, between the actors and the audience, and now, Kiss Me, Kate, a show about actors putting on a show. Kiss Me, Kate! was inspired by the actors Lunt and Fontanne’s production of William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Kiss Me, Kate is also Cole Porter’s answer to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Kiss Me, Kate is a classic 1940’s Broadway musical. There’s a Three’s-Company-esque mixup, goofy gangsters, and spectacular dance numbers! It won the 1949 Tony for Best Musical.
I have always been amazed by the costumes at the Mac-Hadyn – Kiss Me, Kate is no exception. The colorful Italian Renaissance outfits were stunning, well-designed, and flawless. Even the actors’ wardrobes, wearing next-to-nothing, in “It’s Too Darn Hot” were perfect! Less is more!
The performances by leading cast members, Meredith Lustig as Lilli Vanessi (Katherine) and Michael Axtell as Fred Graham (Petruchio) were stellar! It seemed as if Lunt and Fontanne themselves were visiting Chatham!
Kiss Me, Kate, may not necessarily survive the #metoo scrutiny of today, but it is mild slapstick.
True story, in 2006, I saw Urinetown on Broadway with my grandparents. (I don’t know if they got it.) Kiss Me, Kate, however, is fun for the whole, adult, family.