Morning Music: Kiss Me, Kate

Kiss Me, KateKiss Me, Kate first appeared on Broadway in 1948. It’s a musical with a lot of great songs by Cole Porter. But it is a modern version of one of Shakespeare’s more troublesome plays, The Taming of the Shrew. I understand: for thousands of years, people have enjoyed seeing uppity women get put in their place. But it’s pretty tired by now. In fact, at the end of Shrew, Kate makes a big speech about how women should always obey their husbands. Now days, the play is edited to make it more palatable. But in its place in Kiss Me, Kate, is the truly vile “I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple.” Maybe modern productions present the song ironically. I don’t know. But really: “So hold your temper, wife, and meekly put; your hand ‘neath the sole of your husband’s foot”?!

But the big song from the play is “Too Darn Hot.” And it is too darned hot. In the play, it is sung by the men at the opening of the second act. In the film, it is done by Lois — Bianca in Shrew. You know, the obedient and vapid female in all of Shakespeare’s comedies. But that doesn’t mean in 1953 she couldn’t also be a sexpot:

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