Episode 010 – The Taming of the Shrew: A History

“Tameing a Shrew; or, Petruchio’s Patent Family Bedstead, Gags & Thumscrews” from Thomas Tegg’s ‘Caricature’ Magazine, 1815

“I’m a maid mad to marry
And will take double-quick
Any Tom, Dick or Harry,
Any Tom, Harry or Dick!”

– Lois Lane / Bianca, in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate

We’re back with episode 10! Today I explore the critical and theatrical history of The Taming of the Shrew, from folk tales to musicals, from the Victorians to vaudeville, from an overacting Christopher Sly to Hollywood’s take on the rebel. Come join me!


You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or by email at podcastshakespeare@gmail.com. You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or download direct from Libsyn. The Patreon campaign is up and running, with bonus Sonnet episodes! We also have a brand spanking new Spotify playlist, which will be updated as we work through the plays.

Key links below. You can also visit the bibliography page here, which is a work in progress.

Links mentioned:

BBC’s Upstart Crow
Aarne-Thompson classification system for folklore narratives.
The story of “Ledasha”
1550s ballad: “A Merry Jest of a Shrewd and Curst Wife Lapped in Morel’s Skin for Her Good Behaviour
George Gascoigne, Supposes
Ovid, Metamorphoses
1601 anecdote about William “the Conqueror” Shakespeare
John Fletcher, The Woman’s Prize, or the Tamer Tamed (1611)
The Enid Blyton Society
John Lacy, Sauny the Scot; or, The Taming of the Shrew: A Comedy
David Garrick, Catharine and Petruchio
1976 American Conservatory Theatre production on Youtube, starring Marc Singer and Fredi Olster
Kiss Me Petruchio (1978) on Youtube
The Taming of the Shrew (2012), Globe Theatre production on DVD, starring Samantha Spiro (Kate) and Simon Paisley Day (Petruchio)
The Taming of the Shrew (1929), d: Sam Taylor, starring Mary Pickford (Katharina) and Douglas Fairbanks (Petruchio) on Dailymotion
The Taming of the Shrew (1967), d: Franco Zeffirelli, starring Elizabeth Taylor (Kate) and Richard Burton (Petruchio)
The Taming of the Shrew (1980), BBC, d: Jonathan Miller, starring Sarah Badel (Kate) and John Cleese (Petruchio)
Vermeer’s music lesson – copied in Miller’s production
Pieter Janssens Elinga – Interior with Painter, Woman Reading and Maid Sweeping [1668]
The Taming of the Shrew (1994) from Shakespeare: The Animated Tales on Dailymotion
10 Things I Hate About You (1999; d: Gil Junger), starring Julia Stiles (Kat) and Heath Ledger (Patrick)
Atomic Shakespeare from Moonlighting, with Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis – cropped version on Youtube
ShakespeaRe-Told: The Taming of the Shrew (2005; d: David Richards)
Shakespearean Whodunnits (1997): Murder Mysteries based on the Bard, including The Taming of Lord Thomas
Vinegar Girl (2016) by Anne Tyler, adapted from The Taming of the Shrew as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series.
Wolf-Ferrari, Sly (opera) – review of the 2002 Met Opera production starring Placido Domingo, at the New York Times
Kiss Me Kate (1948) by Cole Porter – 1999 production on Youtube

Art inspired by The Taming of the Shrew

Music clips:

Nino Rota, soundtrack to Zeffirelli’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, 1967 (Columbia Picutres, US / Italy)
orchestra conducted by Carlo Savina

-In the House of Petruchio

Cole Porter, Kiss Me Kate, 2000 Broadway cast recording: Stanley Wayne Mathis (Paul) and company

“Come, Kiss Me Kate” from Ross W. Duffin’s Shakespeare’s Songbook

Luciano Michelini, ‘Frolic’, from Curb Your Enthusiasm, 2000 – present

Hans Werner Henze, Royal Winter Music: First Sonata on Shakespearean Characters (1975-76), movement based on Richard of Gloucester

Porter, Kiss Me Kate, 1999 London cast, Nancy Kathryn Anderson (Lois Lane / Bianca) and company

Letters to Cleo, I Want You to Want Me, from 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Porter, Kiss Me Kate, 2014 BBC Proms, Michael Jibson & James Doherty (Gangsters)


Garner, Shirley Nelson. “The Taming of the Shrew: Inside or Outside the Joke?.” “Bad” Shakespeare: Revaluations of the Shakespeare Canon. Ed. Maurice Charney. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1988. p105-19.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s