ROUNDABOUT BLOG

Special Events

Kiss Me Kate: About the Show

Posted on: December 6th, 2016 by Roundabout

 

Kiss Me, Kate

While Shakespeare’s plays are regularly turned into musicals these days, the origins of Kiss Me, Kate go far beyond the notion of making The Taming of the Shrew sing.

Back in 1935, there was perhaps no bigger pair of theatrical stars than the husband and wife team of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. But while they sparkled on the stage, they had a different kind of spark behind the scenes. As the two performed in a production of Shrew, the verbal sparring between their characters became almost impossible to separate from the bickering between the Lunts themselves. A young stagehand named Arnold Saint Subber witnessed the backstage arguing and realized that it had a great deal of dramatic potential all its own.

Years later, Saint Subber, now a producer, decided to pursue the idea of this onstage/offstage marital fight in the form of a musical. He and partner Lemuel Ayers thought of the husband and wife writing team of Samuel and Bella Spewack to create the script. As fate would have it, the Spewacks were in a marital dispute of their own at the time, so Bella was approached on her own first. She jumped at the idea and knew exactly who should do the music and lyrics: Cole Porter.

Porter was already a wildly popular songwriter, but he had never composed a score that was fully integrated with the book of a show. In fact, almost no one had attempted to do so, with one major exception: Oklahoma! When that musical opened on Broadway in 1943, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s score caused a sensation. Their songs didn’t just divert – they actually advanced the plot. Porter was eager to try his hand at this approach himself, and he was intrigued by the duality offered by the onstage/offstage story. He immediately saw what fun could be had with writing songs both for the Shrew characters and for the people playing them.

As work on the show progressed, Bella Spewack realized that that her estranged husband could make a contribution, so they put aside their differences and began collaborating again, with Bella working on the structure and Sam concentrating on the humor, particularly for the gangster characters. Happily, life would later imitate art, with the Spewacks rekindling their own romance in time for the show to open in 1948, remaining together for the rest of their lives.

When Kiss Me, Kate opened, it was an immediate hit, with the New York Times praising it as “terribly enjoyable” and Variety declaring it “unquestionably a smash.” The show would win the first Tony Award for Best Musical ever given out, and it would run for more than 1000 performances on Broadway. Even in a career as fantastic as Cole Porter’s, it would be this show that was considered his greatest success.


A benefit reading of Kiss Me, Kate is being performed at Studio 54 on December 12. For more information, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, Special Events


No Comments

 

Donors Paula Davis and Eileen Kaminsky with Holiday Inn star Corbin Bleu

Donors Paula Davis and Eileen Kaminsky with Holiday Inn star Corbin Bleu

 

On Monday, November 14, Todd Haimes (Artistic Director/CEO) joined with Roundabout’s major donors and some of Roundabout’s artists for the annual Artistic Director’s Circle Dinner. This year’s dinner was held on stage at historic Studio 54 on the set of the hit Holiday Inn: the New Irving Berlin Musical. This event is just one of the ways Roundabout thanks our highest level donors—the Artistic Director's Circle—for their generous support.

Lauren and Danny Stein, Andy Cowin, and The Cherry Orchard’s Stephen Karam and John Glover

Lauren and Danny Stein, Andy Cowin, and THE
CHERRY ORCHARD's Stephen Karam and
John Glover

The exclusive evening included cocktails, dinner and mingling with Roundabout artists including: Cherry Jones, Diane Lane, Tony Shalhoub, John Glover, Stephen Karam, Richard Armitage, Corbin Bleu, Jenny Rachel Weiner, Scott Ellis, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jessica Hecht, Lora Lee Gayer, and Gordon Greenberg.

Adams Associate Artistic Director, Scott Ellis, director of last season’s award-winning She Loves Me, welcomed guests to the titular Connecticut inn, designed by Tony-nominee Anna Louizos. Catering and décor by Sonnier & Castle featured a festive holiday meal on rustic, autumnal table-settings, with table centerpieces by Seasons A Floral.

Donors Jeffrey McClendon and Sharon Richey-McClendon with Cherry Jones and Tony Shalhoub

Donors Jeffrey McClendon and Sharon
Richey-McClendon with Cherry Jones and Tony Shalhoub

Todd Haimes welcomed all of the artists and provided the donors with an exclusive glimpse into the 2017-2018 season that is to come.

Other special guests included Board of Directors members John Gordon, Meryl Hartzband, Mary Cadagin and Leadership Council chair Carmen Grossman and member Cynthia Wainwright.

For more information about the dinner or joining the Artistic Director's Circle, learn more online or contact Christopher Nave, Associate Director of Development at 212.719.9393, ext. 314 or christophern@roundabouttheatre.org.

 

On the set of Holiday Inn at Studio 54

On the set of HOLIDAY INN at Studio 54


Related Categories:
Special Events


1 Comment

Frank Langella to be Honored at 2017 Gala

Posted on: September 14th, 2016 by Roundabout

 

Gala 2015We're happy to announce that 2017 Spring Gala will honor legendary four‐time Tony winning stage and film actor Frank Langella with The Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre on Monday, February 27, 2017 in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria.

Internationally renowned stage and screen actor Frank Langella will be honored for his unparalleled career spanning more than a half century. This year, Mr. Langella received his fourth Tony Award, his sixth Drama Desk Award, and his fourth Outer Critics Circle Award for his acclaimed performance in The Father on Broadway. He is, in fact, the only actor who has pulled off that same hat trick twice before with Fortune’s Fool in 2002 and Frost/Nixon in 2007. He also received an Academy Award nomination for revisiting the role of “Richard Nixon” in Ron Howard’s film. On screen he was most recently celebrated for his work in the film Youth in Oregon (Tribeca Film Festival), and the television series “All the Way” (HBO) and “The Americans” (FX). His New York Times bestselling memoir, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them, chronicling his myriad encounters with some of the past century’s most famous celebrities and cultural elite, was published by HarperCollins in 2012.

A longtime friend of Roundabout and star of many productions, Mr. Langella has appeared in the acclaimed stagings of Man and Boy, A Man for All Seasons, Strindberg’s The FatherCyrano de Bergerac and The Tempest.

The Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre is named after the late Jason Robards for his longstanding relationship with Roundabout and memorable body of stage work. It is given to those who have made an indelible impact on both Roundabout and the theatre world.

For more information about our galas, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, Roundabout News, Special Events


No Comments