The Act Two opening of Kiss Me, Kate has no reason to be in the show from a narrative standpoint. “Too Darn Hot” is a bunch of performers in the alley behind their theater breaking into dazzling dance and sultry song about the meteorological conditions. It has no other excuse for existence than to give the second half of the show a blazing kick off. It’s a throwback to the musical theater when a production number was its own justification.
But that’s precisely the point. The scorching jump off of steamy dancing across the Maltz Jupiter Theatre stage is a wry valentine to the kind of musical comedy that once ruled pop culture.
In fact, the Maltz’s 2016 production of a 1948 classic is a skilled homage to that Golden Age post-war period of theater when everyone knew which war you were talking about. A mixture of classic musical theater tropes leavened with a sophisticated satirical tone, this musical-within-a-musical-within-a-musical often lets its then-hip veneer slip to expose a lushly romantic soul.
The cast led by director Peter Flynn, musical director Helen Gregory and choreographer Marcos Santana invests mostly gorgeous voices and a decidedly comic sensibility into this backstage/onstage tale of veteran thespians trying out a musicalized version of The Taming of the Shrew. The onstage machinations of the Bard echo the backstage tempests of egos, tantrums, suspected infidelities, lusty flirting and true loves.[/vc_column_text]