A Cole Porter
musical that premiered in 1948, with a production that went on to win 5 Tony Awards
and have over 1,000 performances on Broadway
. Based on the book by the husband and wife team Samuel and Bella Spewack the show was revived in 1999 featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell
and Marin Mazzie
. The revival was a success, and after the Broadway run ended in December 2001, the production moved across the Atlantic to London's West End
The plot concerns actor-producer Fred Graham making a musical version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Fred is planning to star oppposite his ex-wife Lilli Vannessi, but they both have sizable egos and a tendecy to bicker, which escalates when Fred begins to lavish attention on the young 2nd lead Lois Lane, who has just moved up the ladder from the cabaret scene, with her partner Bill Calhoun. Bill is a gambler and when he runs into the debt with the local mob he signs an IOU with Fred's name. As the preparations are underway for the opening night, two gangsters visit the theatre looking to collect the money their boss is owed.
The musical within a musical device works with a fair amount of the Bard's work being worked into the lyrics and dialogue. The parellels between the Fred/Lilli and Petruchio/Katherine relationships complement well and script is suitably witty and the songs are typical Cole Porter, memorable and energetic. A movie was released in 1955 (filmed in 3-d) directed by George Sidney, and starring Kathryn Graham and Howard Keel in the lead roles. Bob Fosse also features as one of the backing dancers.