Theatergoers who attended
Kiss Me, Kate
last week were unpleasantly surprised to see Brian Stokes Mitchell's standby, Merwin Foard, performing the role of Fred Graham/Petruchio. More surprising still was to observe Foard's name listed on the title page of the show's Playbill in place of Mitchell's name, suggesting that Mitchell's absence, coming merely two months after the show's opening, was planned rather than accidental. No offense to understudies but it's highly unusual for a major star of a hit show to be granted a scheduled, two-week leave within two months of a show's opening, isn't it?