This is the start of a large project intended to continue, on a roughly monthly basis, for most of the likely remaining lifespan of this site: a year by year account of the spanking stage history of Kiss Me Kate that will build, like a partwork, into a comprehensive survey of theater’s most prominent and most often performed spanking scene, from the original production in 1948 right up to the present. For variety’s sake it will dot around the decades, sometimes finding rich pickings and sometimes lean, and we begin at the richer end of the spectrum in the year 2010.
January takes us to Massachusetts, where we find Lilli showing off her laundry:
Now Fred gives her some assistance, apparently unwanted:
But strangely, he’s less ‘helpful’ when it comes to the spanking:
Ah well, high schools will be high schools, I guess!
February 2010 saw a production at Atlanta, which borrowed its logo image from the 1967 Burton-Taylor Taming of the Shrew:
Here’s the spanking scene:
On February 12, Kiss Me Kate opened at the Rodgers Memorial Theatre in Centerville, Utah, in a production that ran until March 13 and was double cast. First up were Jonathan Rash and Jessica Lesser, whose feisty stubbornness impressed the reviewers:
Their alternates were Todd Wente and Michelle Blake:
February also saw a production in New Hampshire, for which, sadly, we have no photograph of the spanking scene, though we can see that it resulted in a very tender bottom:
But the treat of the month was at the Little Theatre of Gastonia in North Carolina:
March saw high school productions busting out all over, leaving many a teen actress with the kind of difficulties that afflicted this young lady from Florida:
And this one in Spotswood, New Jersey:
Here’s some action in Charlotte, North Carolina:
And here’s another splendid high school offering, with an energetic Lilli and an obviously appreciative audience:
From a Connecticut high school, where the production played March 11-13, we only have the aftermath:
In Massachusetts, Lilli got the paddling of her life, and onstage – but upstage. In the performances on March 12-13, Fred took her to the back of the set, went down on one knee with his back to the audience and turned Lilli over the other, Lois Lane style:
(And no, I don’t mean the Lois Lane who plays Bianca!)
The following week, in the east of England, the Bourn Players opened their production on March 18 for a three-day run.
And in Ohio, Lilli, in yellow bloomers, was getting the same treatment in a production that ran March 19-21:
And if you’re disappointed that the bloomers don’t feature more prominently (for once again, high schools are high schools), come with me to Glasgow, where Theatre South Productions staged Kiss Me Kate at the Eastwood Theatre for four days, March 23-27. Here’s the dress rehearsal:
And now some shots from the performance itself:
Still in the month of March, we have a few remaining calls to pay. In Michigan:
In Columbus, Ohio:
And, right at the end of the month, to Glendale, California, where Dink O’Neal is dishing it out to Donna Cherry in a production that closed on April 3:
Also cusping March and April was this production, details of which are too sketchy to be useful:
Meanwhile, in Russia, Evgeny Skirikov had a spanking to give Anna Chernyavskaya:
The production’s alternate casting was Alexander Osinin and Anastasia Yakovenko:
For this Illinois Lilli, April was the cruellest month:
It wasn’t all that good in Scotland, either, where the Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society production ran four days, April 13-16:
And April 16 saw the first performance at Bergen Community College, New Jersey, when Lilli faced a series of spankings that lasted until April 25.
We’ve only covered the first four months of the year, but, surprising as it may seem, we’ve already reached the intermission. Come back next week for the rest of the year!