‘Kiss Me, Kate’ 5th Avenue Theatre Production Inspires Gender Equality Discussions

‘Kiss Me, Kate’ 5th Avenue Theatre Production Inspires Gender Equality Discussions

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Robyn Hurder and Clyde Alves in the Shakespeare Theatre Company Production of Kiss Me, Kate - Photo: Scott Suchman
Robyn Hurder and Clyde Alves in the Shakespeare Theatre Company Production of Kiss Me, Kate. Photo: Scott Suchman

This spring, The 5th Avenue Theatre will stage Kiss Me, Kate, the Cole Porter musical inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Kiss Me, Kate will be directed by Alan Paul and choreographed by Michele Lynch, who both worked on a previous production of the show at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2015.

A significant work in the canon of great musical theater, Kiss Me, Kate puts the story of two (formerly married) feuding stars in the 1940s in the spotlight. As they swing from love to loathing and back again, their behind-the-scenes battles spill on to the stage. Viewed through a contemporary lens, the story of Kiss Me, Kate and its characters, particularly this starring couple, illuminate long-standing historic issues of gender equality, reminding us of how far we have come and how far we still have to go—all at a time when we are actively addressing this subject on a national scale. The 5th Avenue Theatre’s production seeks to inspire conversation and debate on these issues while dazzling audiences with a world-class Broadway caliber production of this time-honored American musical.

“When we decided to produce Kiss Me, Kate nearly two years ago we had no idea it would open at a time when issues of gender equality and the power dynamics between women and men would so dominate our culture,” said 5th Avenue Theatre Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong. “It is Shakespeare who, very appropriately to this discussion, asserted that the very purpose of theater is ‘to hold the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.’ Kiss Me, Kate could not be more pertinent to ‘the very age and body’ of our time.’”

Leading the cast as Lilli Vanessi/Katherine is Cayman Ilika, who is known in Seattle for her portrayal of Patsy Cline in Always… Patsy Cline at Centerstage and her performances in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and Vanities (The 5th Avenue Theatre/ACT Theatre co-productions) and at Village Theatre in Mary Poppins. She is joined by Broadway star Ben Davis who makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Fred Graham/Petruchio. Davis’s Broadway credits include Les Misérables, Violet, A Little Night Music and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Broadway’s Clyde Alves (The Music Man, Wicked, Hairspray) and Robyn Hurder (Grease, The Wedding Singer) return to the roles of Bill Calhoun/Lucentio and Lois Lane/Bianca after previously performing in the Shakespeare Theatre Company production.

Playing April 6-29, 2018 (press opening Friday, April 13, 2018), tickets for Kiss Me, Kate start at $29 and are on sale now. They can be purchased at www.5thavenue.org, by phone at 206-625-1900 or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in Downtown Seattle.

The 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Kiss Me, Kate is part of Seattle Celebrates Shakespeare, a city-wide festival that honors the work of one of the world’s most renowned playwrights. A multi-Tony Award®-winning Cole Porter masterpiece that set the standard for great musicals and then broke the mold, Kiss Me, Kate is a play-within-a-play inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. This sparkly sensation is, at its core, a true battle of the sexes. A charming leading man and his superstar ex-wife are starring in a production of the Bard’s famous play. Both on stage and off, they revel in combat and romance. Who comes out on top? We’re thinking you’d better “brush up your Shakespeare…”

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