Gilbert and Sullivan operettas are known especially for their perfect English diction, vocabulary and turn-of-phrase and Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society has built up an enviable reputation for performing these works for over 100 years.

However, perhaps surprisingly, Leeds G&S Society is taking on a different challenge – that of producing a classic, American musical, Kiss Me, Kate.

Its been a challenge to drop consonants and learn American drawl and vowels. The members of the cast are relishing the experience and are having great fun at rehearsals said Janet Johnston, Chair – Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society

Kiss Me, Kate was Cole Porter’s first and most popular musical and was the first musical to win the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1949.  It has since gone on to enjoy countless revivals all over the world. The story is an updated version of Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and tells of a company of travelling actors putting on the show, where backstage drama and comedy begin to creep in on the action.

■ Rebecca Jelbert as Lilli Vanessi

The production has a catalogue of show-stopping songs including ‘TOO DARN HOT’, ‘BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE,’ ‘ALWAYS TRUE TO YOU IN MY FASHION’ and ‘SO IN LOVE,’

“Kiss Me, Kate is a scorcher of a show,” explains producer Anita Adams.  “We are having huge fun rehearsing it – the songs are wonderful, the dialogue is funny and the energy the cast are bringing to it is fantastic. Leeds G&S Society has a well-deserved reputation for musicality and talent, and I want to showcase that talent.  We love doing the G&S shows and they will always be at our heart, but Kiss Me, Kate is allowing us to spread our wings a little.  It’s going to be a cracking show!”

Kiss Me, Kate is on at The Carriageworks Theatre from 21 – 25 March 2017, nightly at 7.30pm, except for Saturday 25th when there will be one performance at 4.30pm. Tickets start at £8, and are available from the City Centre Box Office on 0113 376 0318.

■ Nicky Burrows as Lois Laine with Scott Penn as Bill Calhoun

Die-hard Gilbert & Sullivan fans needn’t worry; the Society is performing Trial By Jury in Tingley Methodist Church on 20 May, a G&S-based original piece in October, and The Mikado in March 2018. The cast and society officials are hoping the G&S fans will still come along to see Kiss Me, Kate. “We’re lucky to have many stalwart audience members, without whom we wouldn’t survive,” says Janet. “I hope they will enjoy Kiss Me, Kate, performed by familiar cast members who are keen to show their audience a good time.”

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