AISLE SAY San Francisco


Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Sam & Bella Spewack
Directed by Milissa Carey
Presented by Broadway By the Bay
Fox Theatre
2215 Broadway St., Redwood City / (650) 579-5565

Reviewed by Judy Richter

Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate" is loaded with memorable songs along with a clever story (book by Sam and Bella Spewack) involving ex-spouses playing the contentious leads in Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew."

However, Broadway by the Bay's staging of this perennial favorite is a mixed bag. The singing and acting are uneven, but the dancing, choreographed by Nicole Helfer, is generally quite good. It's at its best in "Too Darn Hot," featuring super-hot dancing by Isaiah Boyd as Paul, the male star's dresser for a Baltimore production of "Shrew."

That male star is Fred Graham (Daniel Cameron), formerly married to the female star, Lilli Vanessi (Amie Shapiro). Just like their "Shrew" characters, Petruchio and Katherine, their relationship is rocky, to say the least. Underneath all that bickering, though, they still love each other.

The show's secondary couple are Bill Calhoun (Zach Padlo), who has a gambling problem, and Lois Lane (Leah Shesky), an airhead. He plays Lucentio to her Bianca in "Shrew." Shesky is one of the show's better singers, as heard in "Always True to You in My Fashion."

As with Fred and Lilli, there's not enough chemistry between Bill and Lois.

Comic highlights come from Ken Boswell and Ray D'Ambrosio, who play two polite but persistent gangsters who come to collect a gambling debt and wind up in the show. They have a fun song, "Brush Up Your Shakespeare."

Perhaps the most memorable songs are "Wunderbar," "So in Love," "From This Moment On" and "Another Op'nin' Another Show." The fine orchestra, led from the keyboard by musical director Dolores Duran-Cefalu, provides sold accompaniment for these songs and the others.

The relatively bare bones but serviceable set is by Andrew Kaufmann, with lighting by Michael Ramsaur, costumes by Valerie Emmi and sound by Jon Hayward.

Milissa Carey directs. She brings extra knowledge to this show-within-a-show because she played Lilli in Foothill Music Theatre's 1996 production.

This BBB production runs about two and a half hours with one intermission.

For More Information

Return to Home Page

  • Road (National) Tour Review Index
  • New York City & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • Berkshire, Massachusetts Theatre Review Index
  • Boston Area Theatre Review Index
  • Florida Theatre Review Index
  • London Theatre Review Index
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) Theatre Review Index
  • Philadelphia & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Review Index
  • Seattle Area Theatre Review Index
  • Toronto, Ontario (Canada) Index