The first time I had contact with this classic Cole Porter score, was when I saw the MGM movie adaptation on television. At the time I didn't knew who Cole Porter was but I liked the score, specially the Lois/Bianca songs. For me, the movie was one of the best produced at MGM and I loved the dance numbers; Ann Miller was at her best and, among the boys, there was Bob Fosse who stole the movie dancing "From This Moment On" with Carol Haney.

After hearing the cast recording of this Broadway revival, my appreciation for the score became much higher and so was with great expectations that I went to see it at the Martin Beck Theatre. I was in for a big disappointment.

This revival looked good (specially the costumes) but there wasn't any excitement on stage. The direction by Michael Blakemore was boring and the choreography by Kathleen Marshall was uninspiring.

Although this is a musical comedy there wasn't, with a few exceptions, anything that funny on stage. Things started happening on a slow rhythm on the first act and than are rushed on the second, I wasn't convinced at all.The big dance number "Too Darn Hot" has no reason to happen and although they are all good dancers, the result is very poor.
Worst is "Cantiamo D'Amore", what were they thinking? Okay, "Bianca" looks more exciting but only because Michael Berresse climbs through the set. One last word for the delightful "Brush Up Your Shakespeare", it's a good moment but it seems it's just there to make time for a change of scenery (in the movie they sang it to cheer up Fred).

The best of this revival are the leading characters. As Fred/Petruchio, Brian Stokes Mitchell is bigger than life. He delivers a strong performance taking full advantage of his powerful voice and star presence. But is Marin Mazzie who steals the show.

She is simply amazing as Lilli/Katherine. People accustomed to see her in dramatic roles like PASSION and RAGTIME are in for a surprise, here she proves to be a terrific comic actress. The best moments of the show belong to her, from the riotous amusing "I Hate Men" to the delicious short "From This Moment On", she shines as a really star and is reason more than enough to see this revival. It's when she and Mitchell are on stage that the show became lighter and livelier; they made a perfect couple.
Michael Berresse is a good Bill/Lucention, but unfortunately they didn't took full advantage of his terrific dance skills. Amy Spanger's Lois/Bianca is too serious and controlled, she has a good voice but she hardly shined on stage.

Lee Wilkof * Michael Mulheren * Ron Holgate * Stanley Wayne Mathis * Adriane Lenox


Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Sam and Bella Spewack Choreography by Kathleen Marshall

Directed by Michael Blakemore

Rated by Jorge: ++