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Cole Porter Classic ‘Kiss Me Kate’
to be Performed at Merced College

One of the most enduring classics of American musical theater is taking the stage at Merced College. Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” which won five Tony awards in its original production, opens on Friday, March 17 at 8 p.m.

“Kiss Me Kate” was a personal triumph for Cole Porter, becoming his biggest Broadway hit after many had thought his career was over. Eventually, the production ran for 1,077 performances, was made into a successful 1953 MGM musical film, and was revised on Broadway in 1999, earning an additional four Tonys.

“This is a very challenging musical,” said Merced College drama instructor and director Fred Friedland. “When I heard the voices of those who were auditioning for roles, I knew this was going to be a great production. I was just knocked out by these great voices I was hearing.”
“Kiss Me Kate” is loosely based upon Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” It concerns stage actors putting on a musical version of the Shakespeare comedy, hence

“Kiss Me Kate’s” “play within a play” storyline. The musical’s two leading protagonists, Fred Grahame and Lilli Vannessi, are a divorced couple brought back together to stage the production. The pair begins to fight when Lilli discovers Fred’s romance with the show’s ingénue, Lois Lane. Lilli threatens to leave the show, but is forced to stay by two gangsters who are chasing a debt supposedly owed by Fred. As the show continues, Fred and Lilli realize that they are still in love with each other.

Friedland describes it as a “rollicking, sophisticated, fun-filled show.” The musical has many hit songs, including “Why Can’t You Behave?” “So In Love Am I,” “Wunderbar,” “Tom, Dick and Harry,” and “Too Darn Hot.”

“Kiss Me Kate” will be performed on Fridays, March 17 & 24 at 8 p.m., Saturdays, March 18 & 25 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for seniors, students, and children. This is a reserved seating show.

Tickets are available on the Merced College campus at the Theater Box Office and the Community Services Office. Tickets can also be purchased at the following downtown locations: Aloha Floral at the Merced Mall, Applewood Gifts at 510 W. 18th Street in Merced, and Seraphim Café, 2801 Winton Way in Atwater.

To reserve tickets, or for more information, contact the Merced College Theater Box Office at 384-6284.

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