Kiss Me Kate: 2008 (Continued)

Kiss Me Kate played at the 2008 Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York, from July 5, with Brad Little and Lisa Vroman. Lisa’s Lilli wore one of the most unconventional costumes ever, and got a correspondingly non-standard spanking:

GlimmerglassGlimmerglass Opera 1Glimmerglass Opera 3Glimmerglass Opera 2You realize I won't be able to sit on the horse now!

But this was a two-spanking production (I’ve written about it at greater length here), and the second one was more as you’d expect:

Glimmerglass Opera 5 Dinner at Petruchio's

Anna Maria Keele was the Lilli in the July 19-27 production at the Performing Arts Center, Shreveport, Louisiana. Here she is:

Here she is with John Bogan as Fred:

According to the local press:

The musical’s playful take on “The Taming of the Shrew” has a spanking highlight near the end of act one. John Bogan is the play within the play’s director and star, Fred Graham/Petruchio. What a vicious, hard-palmed egomaniac he makes. His resentment for his ex and leading lady is palpable in the sense that it can be heard in Row K.

Here it is… at length!

And what is the palpable effect of a bloomers spanking so long and so resounding that it can be heard in Row K?

Over in England, Lookout Theatre Company played the musical from July 30 to August 3 at Bishton Hall, Stafford. Here’s Craig Chesters spanking Julia Waterfall:

Almost simultaneously, on August 1 and 2, Eva Varga was directing the musical at the Esztergom Theater in Hungary. Zoltan Kiss played Fred and Eva herself played Lilli, and therefore had only herself to blame when this happened to her:

Especially since there’s something more to do before Zoltan has her ready for her spanking:

The French Woods performing arts summer camp in New York staged Kiss Me Kate that summer:

And it was on the curriculum at Ripon Operatic Summer School from August 9 to 17 in a production that starred Kevin Whitfield as Fred, with two different Lillis across his knee. This one’s Joanne Harker:

But in other performances:

Also in August, the musical was produced by the German company Theater unter den Kuppeln. Lilli was Julia Brückner, and while there’s no picture of her being spanked by Markus Limbach as Fred, it’s obvious that he made quite an impact where it matters most:

September saw a Czech production with real-life couple Sebastian Gabrys and Anna Pasz as Fred and Lilli.

That brings our running total of raised skirts up to ten (and counting)… but it’s the eleventh entry that’s truly remarkable. It opened in Amish Acres in Indiana for a seven-week run from September 16 until November 2, and starred Matthew Sean Callaghan and Amber Burgess, who later became the theater’s artistic director. Here she is being spanked:

Panties Amish Acres 200847 2008 KMK Amber Burgess02 2008 KMK Matthew Sean Callahan & Amber Burgess

The reason this is important has to do with Lilli’s panties. When an actress is required to appear onstage in underwear, such as in Noises Off or What the Butler Saw, the undies will often be slightly exaggerated rather than everyday, as if to spare the actress’s modesty by removing the inference that it might actually be her underwear. (The male equivalent is comedy boxers.) The underwear is always overtly part of the costume, which is why a raised skirt in a Kiss Me Kate spanking usually reveals period bloomers or some elaborately frilly ensemble that no real actress would herself be wearing: there’s always the sense that the undies were chosen with the intention that at some point they would be seen. But there’s absolutely no exaggeration or caricature here: these are obviously regular contemporary panties, and therefore, unambiguously, Lilli Vanessi’s panties and not Kate’s, so the scene elides the safe distance between stage costume and actual underwear, which might mean Amber’s underwear as well as Lilli’s. I’ve written about this at greater length elsewhere, with more pictures from the production. For now, we’ll just make the admiring observation that this is the most courageous KMK performance we’re ever likely to see, and for that, Amber Burgess deserves the utmost respect.

Follow that? Well, nobody can, and it’s a little invidious to have to quote a critic who described our next example as ‘the best full up adult spanking fantasy sequence ever put on the legitimate stage’ – which better describes what happened to Amber Burgess in Indiana than the treatment Jean Tafler received from Steven Patterson at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre between September 17 and October 12:

Not that it’s a bad KMK spanking, of course. Neither was the British production by the Thornbury Musical Theatre Group, which ran from October 14 to 18 and starred Mark Collins and Cheryl Wrench – though it has to be said that the posed publicity picture…

excelled what they actually did onstage:

To Massachusetts now, to witness scientists at play. The MIT Musical Theatre Guild performed KMK from November 7 to 15, and Justin Breucop spanked Kerry Brooke Steere:

November also sees our twelfth and final raised skirt of the year, at Tempe Little Theatre in Arizona.  Stephen Sylofski was Fred, Lisa Pan was Lilli, the show dates were November 14-30, and we begin with a picture from a rehearsal at which Lisa has just been spanked several times:

Still smiling? Not for long, perhaps:

The paddling of her life? And eventually, onstage:

Halfway through the Tempe run, on November 22, the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Florida put on Kiss Me Kate, with Nick Jones and Tiffany Gray:

And we end the year with a roundup of productions for which we have no precise show dates. A high school in Texas had a white Lilli spanked by a black Fred:

The Lilli here is a lady who rejoices in the name of Sunshine, but obviously doesn’t feel too sunny about what she’s enduring at the hands of an uncommonly lascivious Fred:

Up in North Dakota, and up in the gods:

At Columbia University:

At Villa Kleinheksel in North Carolina:

In the Netherlands:

And finally, a mocked-up picture with 2008 heads grafted onto 1960s bodies:

Identifications and further information welcome!

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