KISS ME KATE
"KISS ME KATE" AT THE ST. LOUIS MUNY THEATER
CBS 2 St. Louis
By Harry Hamm
If you are going to make a show of this age work, the two principal roles must be perfect, and that is what The Muny has achieved in casting Lisa Vroman and Tom Hewitt. Vroman as Lilli Vanessi is a spitfire of a performer with a magical stage presence and one of the finest female voices ever heard on the great expanse of The Muny stage.
"KISS ME KATE" AT GLIMMERGLASS OPERA
Wall Street Journal
By Heidi Waleson
Thank heavens, "Kiss Me Kate" (1948) had color -- bright lighting by Jane Cox, Day-Glo flats and cubes for the play-within-the-play ("The Taming of the Shrew") and some hilariously over-the-top costumes by Anka Lupes, including a raspberry-hued dominatrix outfit for Kate, an animal-taming suit for Petruchio, and a nutty cut-off Elizabethan gown, with red tulle underneath, for Bianca. Diane Paulus's direction was tight and high-energy, taking the battle-of-the-sexes theme right to the edge -- for example, Kate had an armory of torture instruments for the "I Hate Men" number.
…Glimmerglass engaged experienced musical-theater performers for the leading roles , and it was a treat to hear this great Broadway score performed with a big orchestra (spiritedly led by David Charles Abell) and no amplification. As the actress Lilli (Kate in the play), Lisa Vroman displayed an extremely well-trained voice and impeccable comic timing; she had fine chemistry with her handsome leading man, Brad Little, who gamely embodied the rather beleaguered tamer of the shrew with a sonorous baritone.
New York Times
By Steve Smith
Of these, the greatest departure is Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate,” the first Broadway musical Glimmerglass has staged. The plot concerns backstage intrigues and romantic entanglements among members of a roving theater troupe mounting a musical version of “The Taming of the Shrew.” Here the action is set in Cooperstown, with local references unobtrusively plugged into the dialogue and scenery. The production, directed by Diane Paulus and seen on Friday, is a near-constant bustle of motion. Actors portraying choristers and stagehands move props and set pieces around between songs, and sometimes break into modestly effective dance numbers. Most of the singing is decidedly nonoperatic in tone, but the performers, unamplified, never resort to belting. Supertitles, while seldom needed, were deftly timed to not spoil punch lines.
Brad Little was a handsome, charismatic Fred Graham, an actor-impresario with a wayward eye. As the imperious diva Lilli Vanessi, Lisa Vroman was a marvel, whether wistfully reminiscing about better times or ferociously roaring through her Shakespeare scenes in a glittering cat suit, gleefully brandishing a medieval arsenal.
Glimmerglass Opera opens season with a racy ‘Kiss Me Kate’
By Wayne Myers
Brad Little and Lisa Vroman, as the combative theatrical couple Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi, delivered the first titanic performances of the Glimmerglass Opera summer. Vroman, a musical theater-opera crossover, made for an especially lyrical Lilli and was completely luscious and alluring when singing the minor key-set "So in Love."
…Lilli takes particular relish in singing Kate's number, "I Hate Men," as she displays an array of diabolical torture devices. Dressed in flashy spandex leggings with a corset bodice and Elizabethan-inspired sleeves (a costuming coup from designer Anka Lupes), she sings that men are "to be kept like piggies in a pen."
A Shakesperean Musical Romp
by Michael Johnson
...The leading lady, Lili Vanessi (also Kate), is marvelously portrayed by Lisa Vroman who truly gives a complete musical theatre performance, with fine singing, good acting, terrific presence - she’s got it all.
Cast is splendid in 'Kiss Me'
By Joan E. Vadeboncoeur, Entertainment Columnist
"Kiss Me, Kate" makes history at Cooperstown's Glimmerglass Opera as the first musical theater piece ever to be mounted on the company's roster.
…The late composer would be delighted with the casting of Lisa Vroman and Brad Little as Lilli and Fred. They are splendid singers, actors and dancers and share a strong chemistry.
'Kiss’ Me, You Fool
By Jane Dieckmann
Glimmerglass Opera chose to mount Cole Porter's popular musical Kiss Me Kate to open its 2008 season, featuring four productions related to the works and characters of Shakespeare. This is the company's first venture into the Broadway musical, and a stunning show it is - colorful, witty, exuberant, and, as usual, a visual and musical treat. Glimmerglass has re-created the original production here with no amplification and singers trained in the Broadway-musical tradition.
The lead roles of Fred and Lilli (Petruchio and Kate in the play) were taken by baritone Brad Little and soprano Lisa Vroman. Both hail from upstate New York and from Broadway, where they have played in many shows, including Phantom of the Opera.
They also are collegiate friends, and they worked very well together. Both are real pros, and it showed. They acted and sang with assurance, poise, and rich tone, and with attention to varied moods and emotional states. Their separate renditions of "So in Love" were beautifully distinct and very moving. Kiss Me Kate is filled with delightful melodies and lyrics, and many laughs. It is endowed with a great story. This production is as good as it gets. Glimmerglass has tackled musical theater head-on, with intelligence, skill, talent, and infectious enthusiasm.