Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (1948) remains among the greatest American musicals but finds itself on the endangered species list. When its source, The Taming of the Shrew (ca. 1594), was tapped for the Shakespeare in the Park series three years ago, its sexual politics were considered so pestilential that the director, Phyllida Lloyd (best known for the film version of Mamma Mia!), reconceived it as a ghastly all-female production featuring a gang of bluff lesbians who micturated standing up. Kiss Me, Kate is today adjudged by prominent critics to be “irretrievably dated,” which is the precursor stage to full-on radioactivity. It is, of course, the opposite of dated. It is timeless. Its supposedly outmoded aspects are, at their core, true, even obvious; yet our moment is...

 
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