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“In writing the book of “Kiss Me, Kate,” Bella hoped not only to create a sort of contemporary answer to Taming in the character of the actor Lilli; she also wanted create a more progressive “Taming of the Shrew” for the play-within-the-musical. Though her alterations to Shakespeare were eventually erased, both Spewacks remained clear-eyed about the essential nature of the material, referring in a Saturday Review piece five years after Kate’s opening to Taming as Shakespeare’s “slap your wife around, she’ll thank you for it” play.”

-Anne Potter for “American Theatre,” 2018

Image: Bergdorf Goodman archive

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“Porter’s songs evoked an adult existence—a world of pleasure, travel, wealth, and promiscuity. They goosed and seduced society; part of their frisson was their composer’s antic impulse to put it ever so gently to his high-society friends.”

-John Lahr for “The New Yorker,” 2004