Kiss Me Kate: 1978

The year 1978 saw the final performances as Lilli Vanessi by two veterans of Kiss Me Kate. One was Patricia Morison, the very first Lilli, who could chalk up thirty years playing the part; she bowed out at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in England on December 9 after four weeks of being spanked by Stephen Arlen. The other was Patrice Munsel, the original radio Lilli, whose 26-year association with the role ended in Palm Beach, Florida, on January 14, after six days across Jay Stuart’s knee. So farewell, Patricia and Patrice: it’s been nice knowing you!

For his part, Jay Stuart picked himself up, sat right down and put another Lilli over his knee. His very next engagement was another run of Kiss Me Kate, this time at the Carousel Dinner Theatre in Ravenna, Ohio. His new Lilli was another veteran, Gaylea Byrne, who first played the character in 1964, also in Palm Beach, and would carry on playing her in various productions until 1984.

She had previously been spanked by Jay Stuart in Pennsylvania, 1975. There’s no photo of them doing the scene, in either 1975 or 1978, but here’s how the Ohio theater advertised the show:

The year marches on into March, and from the second to the fourth day of the month, Elizabeth Hanson found herself being spanked by Terry Gullickson at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She looks as if she rather resented it:

Having an even less good time, by the looks of it, is Bev Zelnio of the Quad City Music Guild. She spent June 22-26 being spanked by Dale Morgan in Moline, Iowa:

And, finally, here’s a production that opened on December 1 at Hofstra University, New York, with (as the newspaper story put it) John Aller saying ‘bottoms up’ to Celia Berk:

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