Kiss Me Kate: 1974

Program covers are among the keynotes for Kiss Me Kate in 1974: some productions commissioned new and unique artwork, while others made do with found images in the way that has become ever more familiar in the days of the internet. A case in point of the latter phenomenon is the production by Scarborough Amateur Operatic Society, which ran April 13-20 and featured the following program cover:

Here’s an ‘after-effects’ shot from the production at Hermitage High School in Richmond, Virginia, showing Lilli (Leslie Hawkins) having great difficulty sitting down while Fred (Steve Boshen) ‘gloats over his accomplishments’, as the yearbook caption puts it:

We don’t have a precise date for the production at Bellingham High School, Washington, but we do have a photo of Greg Pitsch spanking Cindy Eiriksson:

From the May 3-11 Valley Players production at Ligonier, Pennsylvania, we have a rehearsal shot of Nancy Robbins being spanked by Chester Jaworski:

More ‘found art’ graced the advertisement for the May 15-18 production at Otterbein College, Ohio, with Jerry Confer as Fred and Dee Hoty as Lilli:

Here are Jerry and Dee in the show, looking not very much like Robert Wright and Frances McCann, the actors originally represented in the the drawing:

And here are the moments leading up to the spanking:

What a pity the photographer seems to have stopped snapping there!

The touring Kenley Players contributed a significant number of productions to the musical’s midwest stage history during the Sixties and Seventies. Their summer 1974 stars were John Raitt and Patrice Munsel, and the production was notable for its splendid program cover:

The Tulane Summer Lyric Theater staged the musical in New Orleans July 11-14, with Marc Embree and Rita Lovett:

On July 26, Richard Kennedy spanked Hilda Carr at Ulster County Community College, Kingston, New York:

Still in New York, North Syracuse High School was the venue for Angela Davern’s  spanking at the hands of David Gere in a production that ran August 8-10:

October 25 saw the opening of a production by Somerset Valley Players in Somerville, New Jersey, in which Charles Roessler spanked Phyllis Cohon:

Pennsylvania Players staged the musical November 7-16, with Peter A. McLaughlin and Anne Louise Egler:

In Irving, Texas, a production opened November 8 with Bob Turbiville and Judy Noack, which got a bit of press coverage. Judy told reporters that she had to slap Bob twelve times:

‘The slaps have to be real. There’s no faking them. But we’ve worked out a deal. After our fight scene, Bob has to take me across his lap and spank me. And we’ve both agreed, if I don’t slap him too hard, he won’t spank me too hard.’

But according to Bob:

‘Judy is beginning to slap harder and harder as rehearsals progress. But I have a chance to get back during the spanking scene.’

Here he is doing just that:

Back in England, the December 3-7 production by the Cavendish Players, Lingfield, starring Peter Wall and Beth Sharman, had another striking piece of program cover artwork:

And finally, the St Albans Operatic Society in England also staged KMK this year, but their program borrowed a Shrew book cover. (You can see the original here.)

And that’s it for 1974!

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