Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kiss Me, Kate - The New Broadway Cast Recording (2000)

Music & Lyrics: Cole Porter
Porter is one of my favorite writers of the first half of the 20th century. He always could write catchy songs, but he has two musicals that stand above all his others because they are so consistently strong: Anything Goes and Kiss Me, Kate. This 1999 revival ran for about 2 years. Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marin Mazzie, and Amy Spanger were perfectly cast and the revised orchestrations and quicker tempos brought a slightly updated sound to the revival without destroying the music. Sure, modern Broadway singers often feel the need to scream at the top of their lungs and over emote with every song they sing, but the material here is strong enough to compensate for that. Probably not the definitive version of this score, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks: My favorites here are Another Op'nin' Another Show, Why Can't You Behave, Too Darn Hot (maybe my all-time fav Porter tune), Always True To You, and the lightweight We Open In Venice (which quickly becomes an earworm that is hard for me to shake). I usually skip I Hate Men, Kiss Me Kate, and Bianca. Even though it is one of the more popular songs from this musical, So In Love does nothing for me.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I saw this revival in January, 2000 at a Sunday matinee. As I approached the theater, I saw veteran actor Jerry Orbach and his wife. They were hanging around the entrance, apparently waiting for another couple to join them. I wasn't star-struck and was about to go introduce myself and tell him how much my children enjoy him as Lumière in Beauty And The Beast. But then I noticed that absolutely nobody was bothering him, so I figured I'd leave him alone, too, and let him enjoy his afternoon at the theater.

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