Tom, Dick or Harry (song)

Last updated

Tom, Dick or Harry is a show tune from the Cole Porter musical, Kiss Me, Kate , introduced on Broadway on December 30, 1948 by Lisa Kirk (as Bianca); Harold Lang (as Lucentio); Edwin Clay (as Gremio); and Charles Wood (as Hortensio). In the 1953 Hollywood film version, "Tom, Dick or Harry" was performed by Ann Miller (as Bianca), Tommy Rall (as Lucentio), Bobby Van (as Gremio) and Bob Fosse (as Hortensio).


Performance and release information

In this song, during a musical performance of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew (the subplot of Kate), three suitors (Gremio, Lucentio and Hortensio) compete to win Bianca's affections (Gremio claiming wealth; Hortensio offering social standing; and Lucentio with a promise of love). Whereas other songs from Kiss Me, Kate (such as "So in Love" and "Too Darn Hot") were released as singles and achieved commercial success outside the show ("So in Love" reached the top ten on the Hit Parade in 1949 and has since been covered by scores of recording artists), "Tom, Dick or Harry" was written expressly to advance the Shrew subplot and is, therefore, a showtune in the truest sense of the word. This is why many studio (non-cast) recordings of Kiss Me, Kate do not include the song. Perhaps the best-known example of this is Frank Sinatra's Kiss Me, Kate studio album which is part of his four album (four show) project that also includes Finian's Rainbow (1947), South Pacific (1949) and Guys and Dolls (1950) and which he produced in 1963 to promote his fledgling label, Reprise Records; hence the project title, the star-studded Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre .

Historical note

In 1990, theatre historian Miles Krueger conducted an interview with Patricia Morison (who originated the title role in Kate) to discuss the original production as well as the six songs dropped from the show prior to the Broadway opening. When asked about one of the deleted songs, "If Ever Married I'm", Morison responded by stating: "That was for Bianca. It was replaced by 'Tom, Dick or Harry' which tells the same story". [1]

Performance in 2000

On May 18, 2000, "Tom, Dick or Harry" was performed on NBC-TV's Today show by 1999 Broadway revival cast members Amy Spanger (as Bianca), Michael Berresse (as Lucentio), Kevin Neal McCready (as Gremio) and Darren Lee (as Hortensio) as a result of the show's having garnered the greatest number of Tony nominations (with twelve nominations) for that year. [2] Host Matt Lauer introduced the four performers outside on Manhattan's Rockefeller Plaza, interviewing Spanger and Berresse, while co-host Katie Couric remained in the studio. The Broadway revival of Kate went on to become the top winning show at the 54th Tony Awards (the only show to garner five or more Tonys).

Related Research Articles

<i>The Taming of the Shrew</i> Play by Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1592. The play begins with a framing device, often referred to as the induction, in which a mischievous nobleman tricks a drunken tinker named Christopher Sly into believing he is actually a nobleman himself. The nobleman then has the play performed for Sly's diversion.

<i>Kiss Me, Kate</i> 1948 stage musical

Kiss Me, Kate is a musical written by Bella and Samuel Spewack with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The story involves the production of a musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and the conflict on and off-stage between Fred Graham, the show's director, producer, and star, and his leading lady, his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs afoul of some gangsters. The original production starred Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Patricia Morison</span> American stage, television and film actress (1915-2018)

Eileen Patricia Augusta Fraser Morison was an American stage, television and film actress of the Golden Age of Hollywood and mezzo-soprano singer. She made her feature film debut in 1939 after several years on the stage, and amongst her most renowned were The Fallen Sparrow, Dressed to Kill opposite Basil Rathbone and the screen adaptation of The Song of Bernadette. She was lauded as a beauty with large blue eyes and extremely long, dark hair. During this period of her career, she was often cast as the femme fatale or "other woman". It was only when she returned to the Broadway stage that she achieved her greatest success as the lead in the original production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate and subsequently in The King and I.

"So in Love" is a popular song, written by Cole Porter, from his musical Kiss Me, Kate, which was based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. It was sung in the show by Patricia Morison, reprised by Alfred Drake, and further popularized by Patti Page in 1949.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Petruchio</span> Character in The Taming of the Shrew

Petruchio is the male protagonist in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

Michael Berresse is an American actor, dancer, choreographer, and director.

"Always True to You in My Fashion" is a 1948 show tune by Cole Porter, written for the musical Kiss Me, Kate. It is based on Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae, a similarly ironic poem by the English Decadent poet Ernest Dowson (1867–1900), which has the refrain 'I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion,' and which was probably inspired by Dowson's lifelong friend Adelaide Foltinowicz, who never returned his devotion. The phrase "faithful in my fashion" entered the language before the song was written, and was the title of a 1946 Hollywood film.

Amy Spanger is an American actress, singer and dancer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harold Lang (dancer)</span> American dancer, singer and actor

Harold Lang was an American dancer, singer and actor.

<i>Kiss Me Kate</i> (film) 1953 film directed by George Sidney

Kiss Me Kate is a 1953 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adaptation of the 1948 Broadway musical of the same name.

<i>The Taming of the Shrew</i> (1967 film) 1967 film by Franco Zeffirelli

The Taming of the Shrew is a 1967 period romantic comedy film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, based on William Shakespeare’s play about a courtship between two strong-willed people in 16th-century Italy. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor as Kate and Richard Burton as Petruchio, who were both nominated for BAFTA Awards for their acting. It features Cyril Cusack, Michael Hordern, Michael York, and Victor Spinetti in supporting roles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lisa Kirk</span> American actress

Lisa Kirk was an American actress and singer noted for her comic talents and rich contralto.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bianca Minola</span> Fictional character

Bianca Minola is a character in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (c.1590–1594).

Seán Martin Hingston is a New York-based actor and former dancer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bill Johnson (musical theatre actor)</span> American actor

William Johnson was an American actor and singer of the stage and screen.

Charles Wood was an American singer and actor. After moving to New York City from Redwood City, California, where he grew up, he appeared in five Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s.

Teddy Green is an English actor, choreographer, and dancer probably best known for playing supporting roles in two Cliff Richard films, The Young Ones and Summer Holiday.

"Another Op'nin', Another Show" is the opening number of Cole Porter's 1948 musical Kiss Me, Kate.

The Taming of the Shrew is a ballet in two acts choreographed by John Cranko to keyboard works by Domenico Scarlatti arranged and orchestrated by Kurt-Heinz Stolze. With scenery and costumes designed by Elizabeth Dalton, it was first presented as Der Widerspenstigen Zähmung by the Stuttgart Ballet at the Wṻrtembergische Staatstheater in Stuttgart on 16 March 1969.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Katherina (Kate) Minola</span> Fictional character

Katherina (Kate) Minola is a fictional character in William Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew. Referred to in the play as the titular "shrew" and the "ingenue", the play focuses on Katherina's taming by Petruchio into a more conventional role of a good wife. She is the elder daughter of Baptista Minola and the sister of Bianca Minola.


  1. Kiss Me, Kate complete score double CD recording (EMI Angel CDC-7-54034-2; Booklet, p. 19).
  2. Jones, Kenneth (May 18, 2000). "Kate's 'Tom, Dick or Harry' Will Dance on 'Today' Show May 18" . Retrieved January 14, 2012.

Kiss Me, Kate at the Internet Broadway Database