Stephanie J. Block Stars in London Kiss Me, Kate Revival, Opening June 18 | Playbill

London News Stephanie J. Block Stars in London Kiss Me, Kate Revival, Opening June 18

Bartlett Sher is directing the new revival of the Cole Porter musical at the Barbican Theatre.

Stephanie J. Block and Adrian Dunbar in Kiss Me Kate Johan Persson

Another op'nin'! A new London revival of Kiss Me, Kate officially opens at the Barbican Theatre June 18 after beginning previews June 4. The limited engagement will continue through September 14, with Tony winner Bartlett Sher at the helm.

Leading the cast are Tony winner Stephanie J. Block as Lilli Vanessi and Katharine, Adrian Dunbar as Fred Graham and Petruchio, Charlie Stemp (Crazy for You; Hello, Dolly!) as Bill Calhoun and Lucentio, Georgina Onuorah (Oklahoma!) as Lois Lane and Bianca, Hammed Animashaun as Gangster, Nigel Lindsay as Gangster, and Peter Davison as General Harrison Howell.

The company also includes Josie Benson as Hattie, Jack Butterworth as Paul, Jude Owusu as Harry Trevor and Baptista, Carl Au as Hortensio, Jordan Crouch as Gremio, Gary Milner as Ralph, and James Hume as Pops, along with Alisha Capon, Shani Cator, Maya de Faria, Amelia Kinu Muus, Jacqui Jameson, Lucas Koch, Alex Lodge, Nell Martin, Anna McGarahan, John Stacey, and Harrison Wilde. Swings are Robin Kent, Barry Drummond, Emily Goodenough, and Maddie Harper.

With music and lyrics by Cole Porter and a book by Sam and Bella Spewack, Kiss Me, Kate is a meta adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, following the contentious but ultimately romantic connection between actors Fred and Lilli offstage as they're appearing in a touring production of the Shakespeare classic onstage. Porter's score introduced such favorites as "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "Why Can't You Behave?," "So in Love," "I Hate Men," "Too Darn Hot," "Always True to You in My Fashion," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," and others.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1948, becoming a smash hit and spawning a 1953 film adaptation and several television productions in the U.S. and U.K. The show has since become a favorite to revive on the Main Stem, with heavily revised versions hitting the stage in 1999 and 2019. London's West End has been a welcome home for the work, too, with 1970, 2001, and 2012 revivals following the 1951 premiere.

Sher is directing the revival after making a name for himself helming splashy revivals of classic musicals on Broadway, including South Pacific (for which he won a Tony Award), The King and I, My Fair Lady, Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, and others. The London revival is Sher's first major staging of the Porter classic.

Joining Sher on the creative team are choreographer Anthony Van Laast, costume designer Catherine Zuber, scenic designer Michael Yeargan, lighting designer Donald Holder, sound designer Adam Fisher, and music supervisor Stephen Ridley.

Howard Panter is producing for Trafalgar Theatre Productions in association with Barbican Theatre.


Photos: Stephanie J. Block, Adrian Dunbar, Charlie Stemp, More in London's Kiss Me Kate

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