January 19th, 2013 | Culture

Durang DRA ’74 collapses during ‘Kiss Me, Kate’

Playwright Christopher Durang DRA ’74 collapsed onstage Saturday during a performance of Cole Porter’s acclaimed musical, “Kiss Me, Kate.”

While beginning an encore of the song “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” Durang jumped down two steps but missed his footing on the landing, said house manager Eric Gershman. When Durang did not get up, Gershman said they stopped the show and called an ambulance. He added that while there had been no diagnosis Saturday night, the hospital reported that Durang was in “good spirits.” Asa Somers, another member of the cast, replaced Durang for the remainder of the performance and the 8 p.m. show.

“He was crumpled and rolled over on his back,” said Larsson Youngberg, an usher who witnessed the accident. “I saw him again as he was taken out and he was alert, but I couldn’t tell how much pain he was in.”

This weekend’s performance of “Kiss Me, Kate” kicked off a yearlong celebration marking the 100th anniversary of famous songwriter Cole Porter’s 1913 graduation from Yale. The performance was scheduled to take place twice on Saturday, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and featured many notable Yale alumni, including conductor David Charles Abell ’81.

The next event in this year’s celebration of Cole Porter’s work will be a Porter-themed swing dance in Jonathan Edwards College.