“Kiss Me, Kate” is one of the best-known titles in musical theater. But in this day and age, the “Taming of the Shrew”-inspired comedy’s depiction of the gender dynamic seems downright, well, problematic.
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Kelli O’Hara is well aware of that, and so were her collaborators on the Roundabout Theatre Company’s current Broadway revival of the show. The cultural shifts precipitated by #MeToo and Time’s Up “informed everything [on the show], once we decided to push go,” the Tony-winning star said on the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast. “It’s probably because of what’s been happening, [that we were spurred] to go back into a show that has so many problems when it comes to that sort of thing.”
The production enlisted writer-lyricist Amanda Green to incorporate additional material that would help balance out the inequities. O’Hara described some of the key differences in this version, including some important changes in lyrics, and the depiction of how the lead character reacts when she’s consumed by jealousy for a man who’s done her wrong. “As opposed to crying or putting her head on her pillow or begging him back or running away … In our 2019 version, she beats the s— out of him,” O’Hara said. “It’s a different response, but I think most women have been at the place where if they could, they would.”
On the latest “Stagecraft,” O’Hara also discussed being honest with her voice, explained what her Tony win means to her and revealed why she loves to sing “Finishing the Hat.”
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.