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Prelude to a ‘Kiss’

Whenever Broadway star Michele Ragusa comes home to Buffalo, it’s exciting. Over the past few years, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has gotten into the habit of featuring her in semi-staged shows, and she is always captivating. In “The Music Man,” she was a warm and funny Marian the librarian. In “Funny Girl,” she was simultaneously funny and poignant, as vaudeville star Fanny Brice.

At 8 p.m. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall, the BPO is presenting Ragusa in “Kiss Me Kate,” the Cole Porter show that includes such smoldering songs as “Too Darn Hot,” “So In Love” and “Why Can’t You Behave?” It should be a lot of fun. Ragusa, a graduate of Holy Angels Academy and Niagara University, not only sings wonderfully but has the knack of getting beneath the surface of the story. She can be counted on to bring out the peculiar magic of Porter’s wry and worldly songs, and the humanity of the thorny Shakespeare drama (“The Taming of the Shrew”) that inspired the show.

Co-starring will be Mike McGowan, Ragusa’s partner in a recent production of “Kiss Me Kate” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. The show also features local actors, including David Bondrow of the Lancaster Opera House and former BPO education coordinator Patrick O’Herron.

Admission is $27-$74. For info, call 885-5000.

– Mary Kunz Goldman