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Cole Porter’s classic ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ comes to Arizona Broadway Theatre

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Friday, Feb. 28, Shakespeare and Cole Porter join forces for opening night of “Kiss Me, Kate” at Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria, Ariz. First produced on the ABT stage in 2002, the show runs through March 23.

“Start with Shakespeare and add some of the most-celebrated music from the great Cole Porter with one fiery romance and you have “Kiss Me, Kate,” said ABT’s executive producer Kiel Klaphake. The play-within-a-play features the formerly married Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi, who now appear opposite each other on stage as Petruchio and Katherine in a production of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”

“The show intertwines life and theater in a witty and grand fashion,” Klaphake added, “while showcasing Shakespeare’s work in today’s world, using songs we all know and love.” Some of those Cole Porter songs include “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Wunderbar” and “Too Darn Hot.”

No stranger to the role of director at ABT, Klaphake will take on that role for “Kiss Me, Kate.” He has also directed such shows at ABT as “Cabaret,” “42nd Street” and “Oklahoma!” Kurtis W. Overby returns to choreograph the heavy-dance production, and a new addition, Josh Smith, will serve as musical director.

Taking the role of Lilli Vanessi is Renee Kathleen Koher. Other credits include “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Cabaret” and “Fame.” Playing Fred Graham is Equity performer David Sattler. Sattler has also appeared in “Grease” and “Showboat,” among others.

Additional cast members include Anya Absten, David Michael Bevis, Justin Sams, Andy Meyers, Darren Friedman, Ashley D. Kelley, Bruce Laks, Erik Joshua Clack, Quinten Patrick Busey, EJ Dohring, Marc De La Concha, David Simmons, DJ Petrosino, Leonardo Altafini, Bob Downing, Hannah Bentley, Alicia Newcom, Melissa Waterbury, Jen Morris and Daria DeGaetano.

Kiss Me, Kate” originally opened on Broadway in 1948, ran for 1,077 performances and garnered five Tony Awards in 1949. It includes such Cole Porter songs as “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Wunderbar” and “Too Darn Hot.”

Purchase tickets for evening and matinee performances of “Kiss Me, Kate” at ABT online or by calling the box office at (623) 776-8400.

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Follow me on Twitter @DorisNehrbass.

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