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Skylight Music Theatre Announces Leads for Kiss Me, Kate

Valentine Day Announcement for Musical Running May 17  June 9

Milwaukee, Wis. (February 14, 2019) —Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, and Skylight Music Theatre is celebrating by announcing the leads for Kiss Me, Kate, running May 17 – June 9, 2019. The cast will be led by Rána Roman playing Kate/Lilli Vanessi and Andrew Varela as Petruchio/Fred Graham.

Kiss Me, Kate sizzles with onstage romance and backstage passion. It won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical and features such unforgettable songs as “So in Love,” “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Why Can’t You Behave?” and “Too Darn Hot.” Blending the irreverent humor of William Shakespeare and Cole Porter, this brilliant battle of the sexes follows a tempestuous couple as they struggle to present a musical version of Taming of the Shrew.

Roman was last seen at Skylight as Yum-Yum in Hot Mikado and Nina in In The Heights. Varela was most recently seen at Skylight as Sweeney in Sweeney Todd and Daddy Warbucks in Annie.

Ray Jivoff will direct this beloved musical, marking his final show in his current role as Skylight Music Theatre artistic director.

Kiss Me, Kate was inspired by the battling of real-life, husband-and-wife actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne during their 1935 production of Taming of the Shrew. Lunt was a Wisconsin native and the couple owned Ten Chimneys, now a southeastern Wisconsin landmark. Jivoff said that Skylight’s version will “provide a fresh twist on a classic.”

Los Angeles Times called Kiss Me, Kate, “A classic to be savored…enormous delight.” Variety said, “Vibrant, colorful… exhilarating!”

Kiss Me, Kate

First time at Skylight

May 17 – June 9, 2019

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Sam and Bella Spewack
Recommended for ages 11 and up

Lilli Vanessi/Katharine................................................................................................. Rána Roman*
Fred Graham/Petruchio......................................................................................... Andrew Varela*

*Appearing through an agreement between this theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, and Actors' Equity Association,

the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


Rána Roman (Lili Vanessi/Katherine) is a Milwaukee native and proud graduate of Milwaukee High School of the Arts. Previous roles at Skylight include: Yum-Yum in Hot Mikado, Nina in The Heights and Alexi Darling in Rent. Rana has also recently been seen as Mrs. Crachit in A Christmas Carol, in the ensemble in In The Heights and as Mrs. Webb in Our Town at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre; as well as Ella in Life Sucks and Jania in Exit Strategy at Forward Theater of Madison.

Andrew Varela (Fred Graham/Petruchio) Broadway and National Tours: Javert in the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Miserables; The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera; Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Also Sunday in the Park with George; Cats: Little Women: The Musical; and South Pacific with Alec Baldwin and Reba McIntyre at Carnegie Hall. He was awarded the 2018 Footlights Award for Outstanding Performance in a Musical for his performance of Sweeney Todd at Skylight. Also at Skylight: Daddy Warbucks in Annie; The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance; The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz; and Javert in Les Miserables. Other Milwaukee credits: Guys and Dolls at The Milwaukee Rep; James and the Giant Peach at First Stage; El Gallo in The Fantasticks at In Tandem Theater.  Frequent guest host of The Morning Blend on WTMJ4.

Ray Jivoff (Stage Director) was named Artistic Director in 2017 and has been working at Skylight since 1990. In 1999, he joined Skylight staff as Education Director and started Enlighten, Skylight’s education program, which includes the Partner School Program, which offers music theatre education to students in eight MPS schools; two touring shows —The Standard Songbook and KidsWrites and The High School Musical Celebration. As an actor, he has appeared in Skylight’s La Cage Aux Folles, Animal Crackers, Adding Machine, Guys and Dolls, The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and The Producers. He directed Pippin, Urinetown, Hair, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and Sing Me a Story at Skylight; The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, Revised and The Sum of Us at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre; West Side Story at UW-Milwaukee and Anything Goes, Little Shop of Horrors and Into the Woods at Marquette University.

Performance Information

Performances of Kiss Me Kate run May 17- June 9, 2019 in the Cabot Theatre, Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee.

Tickets & Box Office

Tickets are $30 - $75 (plus tax and fees) and can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, by calling (414) 291-7800, or visiting

Box Office hours are Monday – Saturday, noon - 6 p.m. The Box Office window is open two hours prior to each performance. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more by calling (414) 299-4964 or email


Special Events

Skylight Insights. In-depth discussions with directors and special guests take place one hour before every Wednesday and Sunday performance.

For more information visit, email or call the

Box Office at (414) 291-7800.

Skylight Bar & Bistro

Skylight Bar & Bistro is located on the second floor of The Broadway Theatre Center. It is open two hours before each performance in the Cabot Theatre and features gourmet dining and fine wine by Indulge Wine Room. Reservations for full table service are recommended and can be made in advance at or by calling (414) 291-3773. Counter service is available without reservations.

Parking Vouchers on Sale

Purchase discounted parking vouchers from the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office for use in the Historic Third Ward parking garage at 212 N. Milwaukee Street (one block east and one block north). Vouchers can be purchased for $5 during normal Box Office hours. Vouchers are valid between 5 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. for evening performances only. Voucher sales stop 30 minutes before showtime and are not available during intermission. No refunds.

About Skylight Music Theatre

Skylight Music Theatre will celebrate its 60th Anniversary Season in 2919-2020. Its mission since 1959: To bring the full spectrum of music theatre works to a wide and diverse audience in celebration of the musical and theatrical arts and their reflection of the human condition. Skylight presents productions “Skylight Style” – bringing fresh approaches or interesting twists to music theatre works, creating meaningful connections, not only between the characters on stage but with the audience as well. The beautiful, intimate Cabot Theatre allows audiences to feel close to the powerful emotions on stage.

  • Kiss Me, Kate

Recent News & Media

  • Press Coverage |
    "Kiss Me, Kate" on WISN

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    "Kiss Me, Kate" at Skylight Music Theatre

  • Press Coverage |
    KISS ME, KATE stars Andrew Varela and Kaylee Annable on The Morning Blend TMJ4