Kiss Me Kate: 1982

We begin with a bang on New Year’s Day at Saffle in Sweden, where Monica Nielsen got something not quite like a bang from Einar Bergh:

Next on the agenda is a roundup of high school productions in the school year 1981-82. At Worcester Academy, Massachusetts, with Seth Avergnon and Kelly Blackburn:

At Bear Creek High School, Lakewood, Colorado, with David Duarte and Julie Strand:

Seabreeze High School in Daytona, Florida, the alma mater of a performer with a significant place in KMK spanking history, Jane Morgan, was in 1982 the venue for this production:

And at South River High School, Edgewater, Maryland, the production starred Russell Kahn and Dawn Singleton as Fred and Lilli:

Among productions we can put exact dates to, the first ran April 2 through 24 at Spring Lake Community Theatre, New Jersey. It had a difficult birth, because the actor cast as Fred, Gus L. Christ, dropped out during the week before the opening, so the director, James Papworth, stepped in at short notice to play the lead and spank Patrice Lovekin. Here he is doing it:

There’s no available spanking picture from the production by the Community Singers of Dover, Delaware, that played in late April, closing May 1, and starred Ed Adams as Fred and, as Lilli, Jackie LaGuardia Gaston, who had been Miss Delaware 1973.

Jackie LaGuardia

But the production is notable for one of the unkindest Kiss Me Kate reviews I’ve ever read, in the Wilmington Morning News, which remarked:

The only spontaneous applause comes when Adams spanks Mrs Gaston, not for the acting but for the act of just retribution.

By which I think the ungracious reviewer meant that Jackie herself deserved to be spanked for the quality of her performance! But never mind, she went on to become a successful folk singer…

Marin Civic Light Opera gave twelve performances between May 7 and 23… but Barbara Heroux, seen here, only got six spankings from Jack Lee:

That’s because the role of Lilli was double-cast; the other six spankings went to Nancy Plotkin, who’s seen here with Lee, albeit not being spanked:

Opening in May and continuing until June 19, the Spokane Civic Theatre production starred Doug Huigen and Melody Deatherage:

There’s no spanking picture from the Pittsburgh production that ran July 20-25, with Don Stewart as Fred and Meg Bussert as Lilli,

but it’s worth mentioning for a behind-the-scenes anecdote. Unusually, Meg consulted her doctor to check that it would be OK for her to be OTK onstage, a precaution deemed necessary because she was in the early stages of pregnancy. Happily, the doc declared that it was absolutely fine for her to be spanked – so she was, for seven performances!

October 1 through 16 saw a production at Lake Worth Playhouse in Palm Beach, Florida, which used the familiar spanking graphic:

1982 Lake Worth Playhouse

Closer to what happened onstage is this publicity shot of the production’s ‘unbearably smug’ Fred, Dennis Jones, spanking Lynn Tuckwood:

And although there’s no photo of an actual performance, there is a surviving audio recording of one show from near the end of the run; you can listen to it here.

Also in October, at Parkside Community Hall in Ampthill, England:

Finally, November 11-14 saw the musical come to Bismarck Junior College, North Dakota, with Curtis Juhala and Lanie Russell:

And that was 1982. Onward to 1983!

One thought on “Kiss Me Kate: 1982

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