An ex-husband and wife team star in a musical version of 'The Taming of the Shrew'; off-stage, the production is troublesome with ex-lovers' quarrels and a gangster looking for some money owed to them.
This is a black and white kinescope of a live color broadcast from 1958. It re-teams the leads from the original Broadway production of "Kiss Me, Kate." Its leading man, Alfred Drake, was that rarity: a completely accomplished actor with a magnificent singing voice. He did this broadcast while he was in the midst of distinguishing himself as a classical actor at Stratford Connecticut's American Shakespeare Festival, playing "Benedick" opposite Katharine Hepburn in "Much Ado about Nothing," and as "Iago" opposite Earl Hyman's "Othello." The role of "Petruchio" fit him like a glove. His verse speaking still sets a standard for Shakespearian acting, and his singing of "So in Love," "I've Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua," and "Where is the Life that Late I Led?" are exciting and exemplary. Patricia Morrison was a great beauty who made a number of "B" movies in the 1940's. She too was a wonderful singer and actress. She shines in "I Hate Men," and her duets with Drake such as "Wunderbar" and the first act finale. Miss Morrison reprised this part many times on stage, and came to "own" the role of "Kate." A very young Jack Klugman plays the "Second Man" and sings and dances "Brush up your Shakespeare" with Harvey Lembeck. Future cabaret star Julie Wilson is a knock-out as "Bianca." The show is cut to fit a 90 minute time slot, with the role of "Lucientio" played by Bill Hayes taking a huge hit. It was a star dancing role originally, but is so reduced that non-dancer Hayes is able to do all that is required of him. Missing are the songs "Too Darn Hot," "Bianca," and "Were Thine that Special Face," but what remains is a marvelous record of a great singing actor and a great singing actress, and of the resourcefulness and energy of the golden age of live television.
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