Will Burton Takes Us Through All His Memorable Kiss Me, Kate Characters & Their Timeless Jeff Mahshie Fashions
Will Burton was the standout Broadway dancer in Roundabout Theatre Company's Holiday Inn and Broadway's An American in Paris before taking on the role of Ambrose Kemper opposite Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, & Donna Murphy in the Tony-winning revival of Hello, Dolly!. This season, he's back at RTC slaying it with a variety of roles in the lush revival of Kiss Me, Kate at Studio 54. His spotlight moment comes dancing the Act I showstopper "Tom, Dick, or Harry".
Scroll on as Will Burton shares with BroadwayBox all his Kiss Me, Kate characters and the stunning Jeff Mahshie costumes he wears for each.
This is my ‘dance captain’ look. During rehearsals our choreographer, Warren Carlyle, told me I was playing the dance captain of our show within the show. I started trying to figure out who this guy was, but when I had my first costume fitting with Jeff Mahshie, and he put me in THIS, I had to rework the character a bit, rise to meet this debonair gentleman. This guy is fastidious and thoughtful about his apparel. He likes to look sharp, even for a rehearsal. My favorite part about the costume is that for my entrance I walk downstage, jacket over my shoulder, stop center stage, and tear off the sunglasses dramatically gazing out into the house. It’s a great way to start the show!
Gremio or the Harry of “Tom, Dick or Harry”
This costume MIGHT be my favorite. It’s just so outrageously Shakespearean. I love my knee-high dance boots, I love my chevron tights, I love my crushed velvet top with the poofy sleeves, and I love how the neckline is JUST low enough that you get a nice tuft of my chest hair.
“Cantiamo” featuring Derrick Coby and the right half of Preston Boyd
This one is fun. My guy enters with a half barrel full of grapes and helps his partner crush them into wine must. I love a high-waisted pant, and this is certainly that, but, obviously, what completes the look is the flamboyant sash. It says, “I’m here to do a job, but why not look a little saucy while doing it?”
Fanning myself off because I’m “Too Darn Hot”
I love this costume for a few reasons. 1. Again with the high-waisted pants. I’m a big fan. (Although these are SO high, they have a tendency to get lodged in my bum. TMI?) 2. There aren’t any real layers, which keeps me cool(ish) during the beast of a number which is “Too Darn Hot”. 3. You know the old pec bounce trick some guys can do? This costume allows me to bounce my little pecs at people onstage during the number. Sometimes that alone gives me the energy to get through. Also, I hope Warren Carlyle or Scott Ellis isn’t reading this.
This is Riley Carr Driver, General Harrison Howell’s... car driver.
This guy has two lines, but somehow a richer backstory than any character I’ve ever played. Jeff and his team talked to some veterans to make sure the authenticity was there for this military look. If they’re the ones who suggested the mustache, I need to shake their hands. The stache is what really transports me from Will Burton, Broadway actor, to Riley Carr Driver, active duty body guard and car driver for the future president of the United States.
I call this “Dracula meets Peter Pan”. This costume is Gremio’s wedding look, and as beautiful as it is, it makes me giggle. Everything is over the top, from the enormous sleeves to the huge vampire collar to the CAPE. This costume is very cool, but also hot... know what I mean? When Kelli O’Hara is singing one of the most beautiful songs in the show, I’m standing over on the side, sweat running down my face because the cape has created an oven of my body heat. I’m basically being braised alive at the end of the show. That said, there’s nothing better than really WERQING that cape during the bows. I love flicking it around, hiding in it, and just generally enjoying being in a cape on Broadway. Life is good.
Come see Kiss Me, Kate! and ALL of the glorious costumes in the show before June 30!