Drawing: Stephanie Corley, Quirijn de Lang and Zoe Rainey in Kiss Me Kate

Autographed drawing of Stephanie Corley, Quirijn deLang and Zoe Rainey in Kiss Me Kate at the London Coliseum

Opera North’s award-winning production of Cole Porter’s Broadway comedy classic KISS ME KATE has just completed it’s very brief one-week run at the London Coliseum. The West End debut was also at the same venue, opening on March 8 1951, after premiering at the New Century Theatre on Broadway two years earlier, winning 5 Tony Awards.

This farcical battle of the sexes is set both on and off-stage during the production of a musical version of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, revolving around the tempestuous love lives of actor-manager Fred Graham and his leading lady and ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. Add to the mix, Fred’s current paramour Lois Lane, her gambler boyfriend Bill and a couple of pursuing gangsters and you have the perfect set-up for ‘showbiz shannagians’.

After an initial run at the Theatre Grand Leeds in May, this production transferred to London and is now at the Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. This ‘jubilant marriage of Porter and the Bard’ had the critics buzzing. The best comment was in the Guardian’s five-star review – “So hot, it’s practically a fire risk”.

Acclaimed opera singers Stephanie Corley and Quirijn de Lang play the lead roles-Lilli/Kate and Fred/Petruchio respectively. West End star Zoe Rainey is Lois/Bianca. I left this montage sketch at the stage door and it came back yesterday, signed and dedicated.

Drawing: Zoe Rainey in Romeo and Juliet

zoe rainey

Northern Irish actress Zoe Rainey is appearing in her second Shakespearian production of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s season of Plays at the Garrick, playing Romeo’s mum, Lady Montague in ROMEO AND JULIET. Earlier this year she played Emilia in the tragicomedy THE WINTER’S TALE. Prior to that Zoe had worked with Kenneth inĀ  the live action remake of Disney’s CINDERELLA and will be seen next year in another live action adaption of an animated classic, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, also playing a maternal role, this time Belle’s mother. Her extensive stage career includes WICKED at the Apollo, GUYS AND DOLLS and PARADE at the Donmar Warehouse and the World Premiere of FINDING NEVERLAND at the Leicester Curve.

Zoe signed this sketch leaving the Garrick after an evening performance of R&J last week.