PLAYBILL PICKS: Timeless Love Affairs on Stage

By Robert Simonson
13 Feb 2014

Carolee Carmello and Burke Moses

The Taming of the Shrew/Kiss Me, Kate

You know a stage couple's love affair had an impact when the material is later turned into a musical, and the love story scores again. Shakespeare's 1592 comedy about the shrewish Kate and her Petruchio, who tames her through neglect and abuse, only to have the battling couple discover in the end that they truly love each other, was converted by Cole Porter and Samuel and Bella Spewack into the 1948 musical Kiss Me, Kate. The musical turned the character into warring actors who, once married, must now star opposite each other in a stage show. Accusations of misogyny and paternalism dog both scripts, but the story has never fallen out of production.