Resistance and Reconciliation in a ‘Feminist Update’ to <i>Kiss Me, Kate</i>


  • Bailey Sincox Harvard University


Broadway, musical theater, Taming of the Shrew, feminism, Cole Porter


Roundabout Theater’s 2019 production of Kiss Me, Kate is the most recent node in a long history of attempts to make sense of the gender violence of its source text, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. While Cole Porter’s 1949 musical brings Katherina and Petruchio a few steps closer to the “gay couple” of Restoration comedy, trading whips for quips, this ‘feminist update’ highlights Kate’s physical force as resistance. Along with lyrical changes that make the tamed shrew advise not wives but a divided America, the production suggests a “woman’s place” is at the vanguard of political reconciliation.

Author Biography

Bailey Sincox, Harvard University

Bailey Sincox is a PhD candidate at Harvard University. Her dissertation explores representations of female revenge in early modern drama, arguing that historically contingent conceptions of genre (revenge tragedy, domestic tragedy, comedy, romance) are key to understanding what female characters seeking justice meant to early audiences. The dissertation draws insights from contemporary film, e.g. using the 2017 #MeToo Western Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to illuminate how Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy (1610) participates in public debates about power and gender. An article related to this project, "The Winters Tale and Revenge Tragedy," has appeared in Shakespeare Studies. Passionate about expanding access to education beyond the academy, Bailey has also designed curriculum for open online courses, including the "Shakespeare's Outsiders" Series with Harvard.






Appropriations in Performance