Wednesday, December 30, 1998

December 30, 1948: Kiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway

Originally posted May 19, 2011. Last updated September 4, 2018.

Kiss Me, Kate (cast/soundtrack)

Cole Porter (composers)

Opened on Broadway: December 30, 1948

Cast Album Charted: February 26, 1949

Soundtrack Charted: January 23, 1954


Sales (in millions):
US: --
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): --


Peak:
US: 110-C, 7 S
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

C cast album
S soundtrack

Quotable: --


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks – Cast Album:

  1. Overture c
  2. Another Op’nin’, Another Show (ANNABELLEL HILL) c
  3. Why Can’t You Behave? (LISA KIRK/ HAROLD LANG)
  4. Wunderbar (PATRICIA MORISON/ ALFRED DRAKE)
  5. So in Love (PATRICIA MORISON)
  6. We Open in Venice (ALFRED DRAKE/ PATRICA MORISON/ LISA KIRK)
  7. Tom, Dick or Harry (LISA KIRK/ HAROLD LANG/ EDWIN CLAY)
  8. I’ve Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua (ALFRED DRAKE/ MEN’S CHORUS)
  9. I Hate Men (PATRICIA MORISON)
  10. Were Thine That Special Face (ALFRED DRAKE)
  11. Too Darn Hot (LORENZO FULLER/ EDDIE SLEDGE/ FRED DAVIS)
  12. Where is the Life That Late I Led? (ALFRED DRAKE)
  13. Always True to You in My Fashion (LISA KIRK)
  14. Bianca (HAROLD LANG) c
  15. So in Love (Reprise) (ALFRED DRAKE) c
  16. Brush Up Your Shakespeare (HARRY CLARK/ JACK DIAMOND)
  17. I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple (PATRICA MORISON)
  18. Finale: Kiss Me, Kate (ALFRED DRAKE/ PATRICIA MORISON)
c on cast album only

Album Tracks – Soundtrack:

  1. Too Darn Hot (ANN MILLER)
  2. So in Love (KATHRYN GRAYSON/ HOWARD KEEL)
  3. We Open in Venice (KATHRYN GRAYSON/ HOWARD KEEL/ ANN MILLER)
  4. Why Can’t You Behave? (ANN MILLER)
  5. Were Thine That Special Face (HOWARD KEEL)
  6. Tom, Dick or Harry (ANN MILLER/ BOBBY VAN/ TOMMY RALL)
  7. Wunderbar (KATHRYN GRAYSON/ HOWARD KEEL)
  8. Always True to You in My Fashion (ANN MILLER/ TOMMY RALL)
  9. I Hate Men (KATHRYN GRAYSON)
  10. I’ve Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua (HOWARD KEEL)
  11. From This Moment On (TOMMY RALL/ ANN MILLER/ BOBBY VAN) s
  12. Where is the Life That Late I Led? (HOWARD KEEL)
  13. Brush Up Your Shakespeare KEENAN WYNN/ JAMES WHITMORE)
  14. Kiss Me, Kate (KATHRYN GRAYSON/ HOWARD KEEL)
s on soundtrack only

Notes: A 1998 reissue of the cast album “restored the play's original overture (left off of the original recording), from a recording of the piece made a decade later. Unfortunately, its presence is also a reminder of the fidelity, warmth, and crispness that is lacking in the original cast material.” BE

The 1990 CBS Special Products reissue “lengthened the album from 39 to 51 minutes. Six years later, Rhino stretched that out to 63 minutes [and 27 songs] by including more instrumentals and underscoring, and the reissue producers stripped off the sound effects.” R-S


Singles/Hit Songs *:

So in Love
- Patti Page (1949) #13
- Gordon MacRae (1949) #20
- Dinah Shore (1949) #20

* As was common in the pre-rock era, multiple versions of a single song from a Broadway show would become hits. All chart positions are from the U.S. Billboard pop charts.

Review:

Kiss Me, Kate was the most successful Broadway musical of Cole Porter’s career, much to his and everyone else’s surprise. Porter was thought to be in decline in the late ‘40s, having suffered such recent failures as Around the World in Eighty Days on-stage and The Pirate in movie theaters.” R-C

“Like Irving Berlin before Annie Get Your Gun, he was apprehensive about…writing character songs for a book musical in the manner of Rodgers & Hammerstein, having come out of a tradition in which the songs in a musical were more ornamental than substantive. And he was initially resistant to the idea for Kiss Me, Kate, a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.” R-C

“Some credit for that no doubt went to the clever book by Bella and Samuel Spewack, which gave the plot a backstage, show-within-a-show framework in which the actors were playing actors who were appearing in a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, allowing Porter to write in both contemporary and Elizabethan modes. And the actors themselves – Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison in the leading roles, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang in the secondary ones – added to the success of the work.” R-C

“But the main drawing card was still Porter, who turned in one of his most tuneful and witty collections of songs.” R-C “The lyrics were full of puns and sly sexual references, also Porter hallmarks. This was a score that not only featured an excellent romantic ballad, So in Love…but also a parody of operetta, Wunderbar, that began with the geographic joke ‘Gazing down on the Jungfrau/From our secret chalet for two,’ an impossibility, since the Jungfrau is a mountain in the Swiss Alps that tops 13,000 feet!” R-C

The show opened on December 30, 1948 and had a run of 1077 performances. It also won the Tony for Best Musical. When Columbia Records went to record the cast album, they opted for their new 12” LP format instead of the usually ten-inch records. This gave them room for 48 minutes of music. The result was “a commercial success that rivaled the stage production.” R-C

The soundtrack for the 1954 film was mostly “inferior to the…cast album,” R-S although there were exceptions. Howard Keel’s performance as Fred Graham was “the equal of Alfred Drake, who took the part on Broadway, and Ann Miller, as Lois Lane and Bianca, is at least as effective as Lisa Kirk was on-stage and gets more to do as well, having been given the song Too Darn Hot, which was sung by a different character on Broadway.” R-S

On the flip side, the censors “made themselves felt heavily in the song lyrics… [excising parts of the score which were] very suggestive [and] full of sexual innuendos, puns, references, and mildly naughty words.” R-S “Maybe this is what had to be done to get a film into movie theaters in 1953, but music fans can only be disappointed at the airbrushing of a classic score.” R-S


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