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Adrian Dunbar to star with Stephanie J. Block in Kiss Me, Kate at the Barbican Theatre for a limited 15-week season this summer

Kiss Me, Kate

One of the all-time classic musical comedy farces, Kiss Me, Kate is making a long awaited return to the London stage this summer for a strictly limited 15-week season at the Barbican Theatre, starring the multi-award-winning Adrian Dunbar (Ridley, Line of Duty) making his musical theatre debut as Fred Graham / Petruchio and Broadway musical superstar and Tony Award winner Stephanie J. Block (Into The Woods, The Cher Show, 9 To 5) making her West End debut as Lilli Vanessi / Katharine. This majestic new production of Cole Porter’s musical masterpiece premieres at the Barbican Theatre on 4 June 2024 until 14 September, from the producer of the smash hit musical Anything Goes and A Strange Loop (both staged at the Barbican).

The cast will also include Olivier nominee Charlie Stemp (Crazy For You, Mary Poppins) and rising star Georgina Onuorah (The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma!). Stemp will be bringing his impressive tap-dancing skills to the role of the impulsive gambler Bill Calhoun/Lucentio and Onuorah her soaring voice to the charming Lois Lane/Bianca. The dynamic duo are set to shine as they bring their unparalleled talent, energy and charisma to the Barbican stage.

Get ready to witness a tour de force of talent and comedy as Olivier Award nominee and What’s On Stage Award winner Nigel Lindsay (Victoria / Shrek The Musical) and What’s On Stage Award winner Hammed Animashaun (A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Black Ops) are set to take on the roles of the uproarious gangsters.

With music and lyrics by Cole Porter and the original book by Bella & Samuel Spewack, this magnificent new production, directed by Bartlett Sher (The King and ISouth Pacific and To Kill A Mockingbird), promises a symphony of wit, charm and musical brilliance for London audiences next year. Joining the dynamic creative team is renowned choreographer Anthony Van Laast, accomplished costume designer Catherine Zuber and leading set designer Michael Yeargan. This all-star creative team have collectively earned a remarkable 20 Tony awards. With a company of over 50, including a full-scale orchestra, and featuring Cole Porter classics such as ‘Another Op'nin', Another Show’, ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’, ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ and ‘It’s Too Darn Hot’ Kiss Me, Kate is the perfect musical spectacle for 2024.

Producer Howard Panter said: “I’m delighted to be working with Adrian, Stephanie and Bart to bring this classic, hilarious golden-age musical comedy to the Barbican this summer. Cole Porter’s timeless masterpiece has everything you want: it’s fun, infectious and pure entertainment. This, like Anything Goes, will be the perfect summer treat for London audiences this year.”

Adrian Dunbar said: “I’m so delighted to be returning to the stage this summer to my spiritual home at the Barbican - where I started my career at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama - especially in this Cole Porter classic with the wonderful creative team including Bart Sher and Stephanie J. Block.  Summer 2024 just got a lot brighter!”   

Stephanie J. Block said: "Look...when asked to bring a Cole Porter classic to the Barbican stage under the care and vision of Bart Sher, one must say yes! There are so many 'firsts' to this opportunity, and at this stage of my career, 'firsts' are not the norm. How wonderfully scary and challenging and THRILLING. I cannot wait to dive into this timeless classic and put a fresh stamp on it alongside the incredible Adrian Dunbar. Mark my words, this Kiss Me, Kate will most definitely not be just 'another openin', another show'."

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre & Dance at the Barbican, said: “We’re thrilled for this spectacular, brand new production of Kiss Me, Kate, led by its celebrated cast and creative team, to inspire first time and returning audiences this summer. With our welcoming spaces and dramatic architecture, magnificent stage and beautiful auditorium, the Barbican is uniquely suited to presenting what promises to be a dazzling and joyful experience. This exciting collaboration with Trafalgar Entertainment further solidifies the City of London’s position as a leading cultural destination, with the Barbican at the heart of its offer.”

This musical farce which brilliantly showcases Cole Porter’s razor-sharp wit, has won Best Musical at the Tony Awards. It’s a sophisticated, ferociously funny, show within a show – which whisks you into a world of backstage chaos and romantic entanglements as a theatre company attempt to put on a production of Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew’. The battle of the sexes takes centre stage as former spouses feud, only to find the off-stage antics rival the drama on-stage. Throw in a number of cases of mistaken identity, confused love, gangsters and a spectacular tap routine and you get Kiss Me, Kate – which will bring unabashed joy to audiences next year.

Kiss Me, Kate will run at the Barbican Theatre from 4 June - 14 September