Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: David Henderson, 860-520-7250

Darko Tresnjak, 2014 Tony Award-winner for Best Direction of a Musical,  Directs Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate 

Numbers include “Another Op’nin,’ Another Show,”
“Too Darn Hot” and “Wunderbar”

HARTFORD, CT — March 30, 2015 — Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak will helm Kiss Me, Kate—his first musical since winning the 2014 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. A co-production with The Old Globe in San Diego, Kiss Me, Kate will play for only four weeks, from May 14-June 14. 

Kiss Me, Kate also reunites Tresnjak with ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ Choreographer Peggy Hickey, Set Designer Alexander Dodge (Tony Award nominee); and Lighting Designer Philip Rosenberg.

With a book by Bella and Samuel Spewack, and music and lyrics by Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate is a joyful and high-spirited musical comedy that follows the backstage antics of a touring company performing The Taming of the Shrew, featuring two feuding couples, a few gun-toting gangsters, and some of the best numbers ever written: “Another Op’nin,’ Another Show,” “Too Darn Hot,” “Wunderbar,” “So in Love,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

Tresnjak said, “I started thinking about directing Kiss Me, Kate in 1990, when the influential album "Red, Hot, and Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter" introduced his smart and sexy music to a whole new generation. After 25 years, I'm thrilled to finally get a chance to direct this supreme entertainment—a piece in which my two great theatrical passions, the plays of William Shakespeare and the American musical theatre, come together.”

The original 1949 production of Kiss Me, Kate ran for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway and won the first Tony Award for Best Musical. Last week it was announced the cast album will be added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.

Other Cole Porter musicals include Anything Goes, Can-Can, Gay Divorce, and Silk Stockings, containing such classic tunes as “Let’s Do It,” “Love for Sale,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Night and Day,” “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Well, Did You Evah!” and “You’d Be So Easy to Love.”

Last spring Tresnjak earned the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Direction of a Musical for the Broadway production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which he debuted at Hartford Stage in 2012. “Inspired and hilarious,” according to The New York Times, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won a total of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Robert L. Freedman), and Best Costume Design for a Musical (Linda Cho).

The cast includes Brendan Averett as Second Man (The Killer, Theatre for a New Audience); Anastasia Barzee as Lilli/Kate (Urinetown on Broadway); Joel Blum as First Man (Tony Award nominee for both Show Boat and Steel Pier); Giovanni Bonaventura as Hortensio (Cinderella on Broadway); Robert Hannon Davis as Ralph (A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas at Hartford Stage); Charity Angel Dawson as Hattie (Side Show on Broadway); Tyler Hanes as Bill/Lucentio (A Chorus Line on Broadway); James T. Lane as Paul (The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway); Barrett Martin as Gremio (Side Show on Broadway); Robin Masella as a dancer (Chicago national tour); Mike McGowan as Fred/Petruchio (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on Broadway); Shina Ann Morris as a dancer (Cinderella on Broadway); Jane Papageorge as a dancer (Hair, Hollywood Bowl); Wayne W. Pretlow as Pops/Priest (The Most Happy Fella, City Center ENCORES!); Megan Sikora as Lois/Bianca (Curtains on Broadway); Michael Starr as Phillip (Guys and Dolls in LA); Jeff Steitzer as Harry Trevor/Baptista Minola (The Front Page, Long Wharf Theatre); Johnny Stellard as Nathaniel (Evita on Broadway); and Nick Wyman as General Harrison Howell (Loot at Hartford Stage, original cast of Phantom of the Opera).

In addition to Tresnjak, the creative team includes Peggy Hickey, Choreographer (My Fair Lady, New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center); Kris Kukul, Music Director (The Last Goodbye, The Old Globe); Alexander Dodge, Set Designer (Private Lives and Twelfth Night at Hartford Stage); Fabio Toblini, Costume Designer (Bell, Book and Candle and Hamlet at Hartford Stage); Philip Rosenberg, Lighting Designer (Somewhere at Hartford Stage and Broadway’s The Elephant Man); and Jonathan Deans, Sound Designer(More than 10 Cirque du Soleil productions worldwide; Tony Award nominee for Pippin on Broadway last year; Finding Neverland at present).

Anjee Nero will be the Stage Manager and Amanda Salmons, Assistant Stage Manager.

Special Dates
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14
Press Opening: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 20


The Presenting Sponsor is The Hartford, and the Principal Sponsor is The Radisson Hotel Hartford. The Production Sponsors for Kiss Me, Kate are The Cheryl Chase and Stuart Bear Family Foundation and The John and Kelly Hartman Foundation. The Assistant Production Sponsor is The Saunders Foundation. Assisting support is provided by The Larsen Fund.

The 2014-15 Season is also sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development

Special Events
LGBT Night Out, Thursday, May 21
Join us for a pre-show nosh and complimentary wine (plus drink specials at the bar) for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patrons. Event begins at 6:15 p.m. before the 7:30 p.m. curtain. The reception is free with purchase of a ticket for that evening’s performance. Special guests will be the organizers of Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus.

Sunday Afternoon Discussion, May 24

Enjoy a lecture from artists and scholars connected with the production immediately following the 2 p.m. matinee. FREE

AfterWords Discussion

Tuesdays, May 26 & June 2 and Wednesday, June 3

Join members of the cast and our Artistic staff for a free discussion, immediately following select 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday or the 2 p.m. Wednesday matinee. FREE

Open Captioned Performances, May 31, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. performances
For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. FREE

Tickets & Performances
Performances May 14 to June 14
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun at 7:30 p.m.—Fri, Sat at 8 p.m.—Sat, Sun at 2 p.m.
Wed matinee at 2 p.m. on June 3 only
Weekly schedules vary. For details, visit 

Tickets for all shows start at $25. For group discounts (10 or more) of up to 40% off regular ticket prices, contact Theresa MacNaughton at 860-520-7114.

For tickets, please call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit

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Now in our 51st year, Hartford Stage is one of the nation’s leading resident theatres, known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 68 world and American premieres, as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches more than 20,000 students annually.

In 2011, Darko Tresnjak became only the fifth artistic director to lead Hartford Stage. Since then the theatre has presented the world premieres of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Darko; Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty; and Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Hartford Stage, under the leadership of Managing Director Michael Stotts, has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including its first Tony Award in 1988 for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger's Children; and Tea at Five.