Monday, January 3, 2011

"Kiss Me, Kate" on Broadway

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from December 20, 1949 to January 5, 1950, as June enjoys Christmas break at home (with frequent dates with Art)…

I’m still thinking over Kiss Me, Kate.  Maybe we just expected too much at the time.  When I look back, Alfred Drake was wonderful, Patricia Morison had a beautiful voice, Lisa Kirk sure could put over her main song, I loved Harold Lang’s dancing, and many parts of the play were real cute.
                                                 June Anderson
                                                 Letter to Art Price, undated

This appears to be June and Art’s first Broadway musical date.  They both enjoyed musicals very much.  After he returned home from the Navy, Art had treated himself to a trip into New York City to see Rogers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! on Broadway.  So we know this wasn’t Art’s first time at a Broadway musicalalthough it may have been June’s.

Patricia Morison, Alfred Drake, Lisa
Kirk and Harold Lang in
"Kiss Me, Kate."
A musical by Cole Porter inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” Kiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway on December 30, 1948.  It received the Tony Award for Best Musical of 1949.  The cast members mentioned by June – Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk, and Harold Lang – were all in that first run (1,077 performances) which closed on July 28, 1951.  For the first half of the run, Kiss Me, Kate played at the New Century Theatre at Seventh Avenue and 58th Street.  This is where June and Art would 
have seen it.

Patricia Morison and Alfred Drake
in "Kiss Me, Kate."

Here’s a 1958 TV clip of Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison performing “Wunderbar”:
"Wunderbar" from Kiss Me, Kate

“Wunderbar” isn't really typical of most of the songs in the show, it’s still nice to have a visual record of the original stars performing together (eight years after June and Art saw them on Broadway).

© 2011 Lee Price

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