John McGlinn - Kiss Me, Kate [Original Broadway Cast] (Original Soundtrack) (Music CD)

Release Date: 18 April 2012
Artist: John McGlinn
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The Original Soundtrack album for Kiss Me, Kate is, in most ways, inferior to the Original Broadway Cast album released nearly five years earlier. There are three exceptions to this finding, and two of them have to do with casting. Howard Keel, in the role of Fred Graham, who in turn plays Petruchio in the show-within-a-show version of The Taming of the Shrew, is the equal of Alfred Drake, who took the part on Broadway, and Ann Miller, as Lois Lane and Bianca, is at least as effective as Lisa Kirk was on-stage and gets more to do as well, having been given the song "Too Darn Hot," which was sung by a different character on Broadway. Finally, the song "From This Moment On" has been interpolated into the score. It was actually intended for, but cut from, Out of This World, the Cole Porter musical that followed Kiss Me, Kate in 1950. Independently published, it was already on its way to becoming a standard when it was inserted here. It doesn't have much to do with Kiss Me, Kate, but it would be a welcome addition to any movie musical. That's the good news. Otherwise, the Hollywood production team has altered the score of the musical in many ways that make it less impressive. Two songs, "Another Op'nin', Another Show," and "Bianca," have been cut, along with most of the finale. Robert Russell Bennett's masterful orchestrations have been jettisoned in favor of overdone charts by Conrad Salinger and Robert Franklyn that tend to be inappropriate to the material, particularly the big-band-and-bongos treatment of "Too Darn Hot." Worst of all (but perhaps inevitably), the censors have made themselves felt heavily in the song lyrics. To be fair, the score for Kiss Me, Kate as written for the stage is very suggestive, full of sexual innuendos, puns, references, and mildly naughty words. And the revisions are sometimes so skillful that it seems possible Porter himself was involved in the bowdlerizing. For example, in "I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua," where Petruchio on-stage had sung of women, "In the dark they are all the same," in the film he sings, "In a brawl they are all the same," introducing an internal rhyme. But skillful censorship is still censorship; throughout the score, objectionable words like "virgin," "puberty," "hell," and even "grave" have disappeared, along with the reference to the Kinsey Report, of course. Curiously, some anatomical puns ("Kick her right in the Coriolanus," for one) have gotten through, along with jokes the censors must have felt were too obscure to offend moviegoers. (Thus, "Lisa," who "gave a new meaning to the leaning tow'r of Pisa" remains in "Where Is the Life That Late I Led.") Maybe this is what had to be done to get a film into movie theaters in 1953, but music fans can only be disappointed at the airbrushing of a classic score. ~ William Ruhlmann
Release Date: 18 April 2012
Artist: John McGlinn

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Catalogue No: 233482