"Another op'nin, another show" for Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate! as it gets a new revival at Studio 54. And it is "wunderbar" indeed, with an incredible cast and stunning sets and choreography.
Kelli O'Hara and Will Chase play Lilli Vanessi and Fred Graham, two exes who are starring together in a musical version of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. Alongside them are Corbin Bleu and Stephanie Styles as Bill Calhoun and his girlfriend Lois Lane, respectively. All four of them are fantastic in this production, with Styles' rendition of "Always True to You in My Fashion" and Bleu's dancing being two of the standouts of the show.
The choreography, by Warren Carlyle, is absolutely stunning, especially in Act II opener “Too Darn Hot” and when Corbin Bleu tap dances on the ceiling. The sets are also extremely lavish, creating both the backstage of a theater in Maryland and the sets for Fred’s musical. The costumes, equally as lavish, pay tribute to last revival with the late Marin Mazzie, as a rack of costumes scene in the opening number are from that production and O’Hara wears a hat of Mazzie’s, in what is a touching decision from the creative team.
The book, updated to fit with the times a bit more, holds up better than other revivals have in recent years. The decision to update it is a smart one, and does not detract from the story in the slightest.
Roundabout’s revival is stellar in every sense of the word. With an all star cast, and production values to match, there is no way can’t help but leaving with grin on your face after you get the chance to “brush up your Shakespeare.”