Stephanie J. Block Will Star in Bartlett Sher-Directed West End Kiss Me, Kate | Playbill

International News Stephanie J. Block Will Star in Bartlett Sher-Directed West End Kiss Me, Kate

The Tony winner will share the stage with Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar.

Stephanie J. Block

Tony winner Stephanie J. Block will star as Lilli Vanessi and Katherine in an upcoming West End revival of Kiss Me, Kate, directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher. The production will begin performances June 4 at the Barbican Theatre ahead of a June 18 opening night. The limited engagement will continue through September 14.

Block will share the stage with Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar as Fred Graham and Petruchio, with further casting to be announced.

With music and lyrics by Cole Porter and a book by Sam and Bella SpewackKiss Me, Kate is a meta adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, following the contentious but ultimately romantic connection between actors Fred and Lilli offstage as they're appearing in a touring production of the Shakespeare classic onstage. Porter's score introduced such favorites as "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "Why Can't You Behave?," "So in Love," "I Hate Men," "Too Darn Hot," "Always True to You in My Fashion," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," and others.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1948, becoming a smash hit and spawning a 1953 film adaptation and several television productions in the U.S. and U.K. The show has since become a favorite to revive on the Main Stem, with heavily revised versions hitting the stage in 1999 and 2019. London's West End has been a welcome home for the work, too, with 1970, 2001, and 2012 revivals following the 1951 premiere.

"Look...when asked to bring a Cole Porter classic to the Barbican stage under the care and vision of Bart Sher, one must say yes!," says Block in a statement. "There are so many 'firsts' to this opportunity, and at this stage of my career, 'firsts' are not the norm. How wonderfully scary and challenging and thrilling. I cannot wait to dive into this timeless classic and put a fresh stamp on it alongside the incredible Adrian Dunbar. Mark my words, this Kiss Me, Kate will most definitely not be just 'another openin', another show'."

Sher is directing the revival after making a name for himself helming splashy revivals of classic musicals on Broadway, including South Pacific (for which he won a Tony Award), The King and IMy Fair LadyCamelotFiddler on the Roof, and others. The London revival will be Sher's first major staging of the Porter classic.

Joining Sher on the creative team will be choreographer Anthony Van Laast, costume designer Catherine Zuber, scenic designer Michael Yeargan, lighting designer Donald Holder, sound designer Adam Fisher, and music supervisor Stephen Ridley.

Harold Panter is producing for Trafalgar Theatre Productions in association with Barbican Theatre.


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