1948 was a crazy year. It was the year Harry Truman won against all odds, one of the greatest upsets in American history. Porsche made its first car. Andrew Lloyd Webber was born.

And it was the year “Kiss Me, Kate” hit Broadway.

Today we have our own pres­i­dential upset, Porsche has an SUV, and Webber has made his own popular musicals. A lot has changed since 1948, but “Kiss Me, Kate” is still around with the same energy.

The musical, which opened on campus last night, has enjoyed many revivals since its debut almost 60 years ago, when it won the Tony Award for Best Musical, the first time that award was given. It has since won another Tony Award for its Broadway revival in 2000.

“Kiss Me, Kate”  con­tains all of the ele­ments of a Broadway musical, Director James Brandon said. It keeps to the classic Broadway sound, with sax­o­phones and strings and strains of upbeat dance tunes throughout, by way of a unique self-awareness  pro­vided by the cast of a Bal­timore theatre pro­ducing a musical adap­tation of “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shake­speare.

Juniors jonathan Hen­reckson and Glynis Gilio perform a scene from ‘Kiss Me, Kate.’ Elena Creed | Col­legian

In the dressing rooms and back­stage, the rela­tion­ships among cast members create con­flict that bleed into their per­for­mance. Lilli Vanessi, played by junior Glynis Gilio, and Fred Graham, played by junior Jonathan Hen­reckson, are a divorced couple who work together and play Katherine and Petruchio in the adap­tation. It is through the fiction of theater that the reality of their romance is brought to light through their per­for­mance in “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Shakespeare’s misogyny is not softened in the adap­tation to Broadway, and the treatment of women even in 20th century Bal­timore mirrors the far­cical under­standing of mar­riage that underpins the original play. It is in this bleak world that Gilio shines in her per­for­mance of “I Hate Men,” a song set in Padua as she plays Kate. She is con­vincing yet con­trolled, care­fully chore­o­graphed yet carefree. She is Kate and Lilli at the same time — no easy task.

Gilio’s is not the exception, but the rule of Hillsdale’s Tower Players per­for­mance.

“You need a lot of people who can act, sing, and dance,” Brandon said. “Often people can’t do all three.”

But Hillsdale stu­dents rose to the chal­lenge.

“There are 22 stu­dents on stage, 16 in the pit orchestra, and about a dozen back­stage,” Brandon said.

The best numbers in the musical take place in Bal­timore, behind the scenes of musical theater, where the audience can get a feel for the struggle and jubi­lation of the actors, rather than in the stifled atmos­phere of the staged adap­tation. The show excels in seamless chore­og­raphy, and Hillsdale’s per­for­mance thanks to guest chore­o­g­rapher Phil Simmons, Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Musical Theatre and Dance at Eastern Michigan Uni­versity.

One such example of killer chore­og­raphy comes from freshman Isaac Johnson, who stars in the song “Too Darn Hot” and lights up the stage with his graceful and pas­sionate per­for­mance as Paul, Fred Graham’s assistant who hates the heat because it’s too hot to hang out with his lover. Along with him, the cast delivers a delightful dance that really brings out the Broadway feel of the musical through the high-energy yet mes­mer­iz­ingly clean chore­og­raphy over what sounds like a con­den­sation of the best show tunes.

Senior Gianna Marchese, who plays Lois Lane, and junior Mark Naida, who plays Bill Calhoun, both sell their char­acters through songs of passion in their own fashion: Marchese with her silky voice in her song “Always True to You in My Fashion,” and Naida with his whole being wrapped up in wooing Lois in “Bianca.”

The gang­sters who get involved in the already dif­ficult rela­tionship between Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi pay tribute to the Bard in “Brush Up Your Shake­speare,” where they expound extem­po­ra­ne­ously on the excel­lencies of knowing clas­sical lit­er­ature in order to impress the fairer sex.

The song’s title is also sound advice for anyone who has not seen “The Taming of the Shrew” —  much of the drama of the musical is wrapped inside the adapted play. Even a quick peek on Wikipedia before attending may help readers better under­stand what is going on because Shakespeare’s lan­guage can be hard to under­stand at times.

While it doesn’t have as much adult content as “The Drowsy Chap­erone,” “Kiss Me, Kate” has enough misogyny and lan­guage to offend some sen­si­bil­ities, but overall, the musical keeps with the spirit of Shake­spearean sexual humor and a tra­di­tionally comical view of love and mar­riage. Unsur­pris­ingly, perhaps, there is an abun­dance of puns based on Shakespeare’s work, so the viewer’s Hamlet from lit­er­ature classes in high school may finally pay off.

Despite the nods to lit­erary genius, the point is to not analyze the play, but to take it in and appre­ciate it for what it is.

“The music is annoying, and the plot is just really silly, but it’s still enter­taining,” Naida said. “I hope we can make people both laugh and smile.”

Though the show runs for nearly three hours, it passes quickly as a result of the energy radi­ating from the cast and the pit orchestra in perfect tandem which will con­tinue every night this week at 8 p.m. with a matinee showing Sunday at 2 p.m.

From the bright colors of cheerful cho­ruses, down to the incan­descent box lights that sur­round the stage, “Kiss Me, Kate” is Broadway through and through, with a few tips on taming the shrew.