Two days after attending, I still can't decide if this show aged terribly or if it was always this ridiculous. Regardless, I enjoyed the absurdity of it.
Kiss Me Kate tells the story of a divorced couple, Fred and Lilli, working together on a musical production of Shakespeare's the Taming of the Shrew. The pair are constantly looking for excuses to bicker and this ends up translating into their onstage personas.
In some ways, this show reminded me of My Fair Lady, another show that's aged poorly. The gender roles are pretty consistent with 1940s America, but unlike the current production of My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate makes no attempt to acknowledge this.
While I couldn't stand Fred or Lilli, I thoroughly enjoyed Bill and Bianca. Stephanie Styles (Bianca) stole the show every time she appeared. The gangsters were also perfect and remarkably funny during Brush Up Your Shakespeare.
After the show I asked my friends if any of the characters had any redeeming qualities. The best we could say is they all deserve each other. This seems strange for a show that was once beloved and had an incredibly successful original run.
Arguably, the play within the play, Taming of the Shrew, was better than Kiss Me Kate itself. It was a fun abridged version of another story that's aged terribly, but in the middle of Kiss Me Kate, Shrew is hysterical. I particularly liked how the leading characters were so unprofessional that all the minor roles appear to be extremely well played.
In fact all of my favorite songs were part of the inner musical. We Open In Venice is a fun way to summarize Shrew. I consistently laughed during Tom, Dick or Harry; and I Hate Men fit great with the overarching themes of the show.
This show really shined with it's choreography. Too Darn Hot was impressively staged and the entire cast performed spectacularly. I was notably impressed with Corbin Bleu during Bianca. In this song, he tap-dances on a ceiling while holding himself upside down. The core strength that requires is awe inspiring.
Overall I'd recommend Kiss Me Kate as a classic worth seeing, even if it is a product of it's time.