Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Kiss Me, Kate!"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Larry Stark


"Kiss Me, Kate!"

Music & Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Sam and Bella Spewack
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Musical Direction by Jonathan Goldberg
Choreography by Ilyse Robbins

Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland
Costume Design by Rafael Jean
Lighting Design by Scott Clyve
Sound Design by David Renedios
Dance Captains Caitlin Crosbie Doonan/Rachel Bertone
Fight Captain J. T. Turner
Assistant Stage Manager Nerys Powell
Production Stage Manager Katherine Shea

Hattie..........................Mary Callanan
Paul..............................Kennedy Pug
Ralph...........................Phil Crumrine
Fred Graham (Petruchio).......Peter Davenport
Harry Trevor (Baptista)............Jack Agnew
Lois Lane (Bianca).............Michele DeLuca
Lilli Vanessa (Katherine).......Ameila Broome
Bill Calhoun (Lucentio).......R. Patrick Ryan
First Man.......................Neil A. Casey
Second Man.......................J. T. Turner
Pops.........................Arthur Waldstein
Harrison Howell/Ensemble...Timothy John Smith

Female Ensemble
Rachel Bertone, Caitlin Diana Doyle, Caitlin Crosbie Doonan, Shanna Heverly, Hilary Wertman
Male Ensemble
Santio Cupon, Peter Mills, Joseph Cullinane, Josh Dennis

ORCHESTRA
Keyboard......................................Jonathan Goldberg
Bass............................................Jessi Eisdorfer
Drums...........................................Desiree Glazier
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet.................Wendy Macdonald
Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet, Flugelhorn..............Paul Perfetti
Also Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet................Susannah Hoffman
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute............Louis Toth

They took a popular Shakespeare show, put it into a modern show-biz setting with "real" people stepping in and out of the original roles, gave them a whole sub-plot of their own, then added some of the best contemporary music --- songs so familiar the entire audience could sing-along. Sound familiar? Well, I'm not talking about Randy Weiner & Diane Paulus putting "Midsummer" into a Disco back in 1999; I mean Cole Porter and the Spewacks turning "Taming of The Shrew" into "Kiss Me Kate" back around 1948. For a month, you can take in one show at The Lyric Stage and the other at Zero Arrow Street, and decide which you like more.
I've made my decision. What's yours?

Spiro Veloudos begins both acts of his production, at The Lyric Stage of Boston, back-stage: first with a growing chaotic scramble getting ready for "Another Op'nin', Another Show" then, when the audience re-assembles the crew-within-a-play slouches through its own act-break complaining it's "Too Darn Hot" in Baltimore in June in 1948.

The stars --- actor-director Fred Graham (Peter Davenport) and his ex-wife (back from an unsuccessful fling at Hollywood, played by Ameila Broome), extend what might be character-improvs into dressing-room bickering. The show they're doing is Shakespeare's flaming battle of the sexes, and as Petruchio and Katherine this pair get to sing in-character snatches of The Bard's original lines ("I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua" "Where Is The Life That Late I Led?" "I Hate Men!" "Kiss Me, Kate!").

There's a sub-plot wherein Michele DeLuca playing Bianca and R. Patrick Ryan as her lothario Lucentio get to brangle as fickle actors ("Why Can't You Behave?" "Always True To You [in My Fashion]").

There are costumes --- simple off-stage, sumptuous on --- by Rafael Jean, great jazz and ballet numbers by Ilyse Robbins, a brashly bouncy orchestra captained by Jonathan Goldberg, a pair of gambler's gunsels (J.T.Turner & Neil A. Casey) that may have wandered in from "Guys & Dolls" and a donkey! (Okay, a mule. So sue me.)

Everyone knows I love back-stage plays and "show-tunes" so it's no secret I fell in love with this show. I was out of college when I did it, but I really "grew up" when I came to Cambridge the year Loeb Drama Center opened and, when I walked into the shop there they put a hammer in my hand. But you can experience Some of my memories by dropping in at The Lyric Stage, and there's even an essay on the making of "Kiss Me, Kate!" by Brett Marks in the program.

What do you think YOU will think about it?

Love,
===Anon.

"Kiss Me, Kate!" (4 September - 10 October)
LYRIC STAGE COMPANY OF BOSTON, INC.
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON
1(617) 585-5678

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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