Kiss Me, Kate to heat up Stansbury

Jonathon Roberts

Lawrence actors, musicians, and dancers shine as Kiss Me, Kate opens Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7:35 p.m in Stansbury Theatre. Performances continue Nov.r 15 and 17 at 7:35 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 16, at 2:35 p.m. Timothy X. Troy directs the fall term musical, with musical direction by Rico Serbo and Ingrid Lestrud.

Celebrated composer and lyricist Cole Porter ignites the libretto by Sam and Bella Spewack with 18 memorable tunes. Troy boasts that the dynamite musical features a “big jazzy sound, large orchestra and cast, lots of dancing, and very melodic, hummable tunes.”

“Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Brush Up on Your Shakespeare,” and “Too Darn Hot” are just a few of the memorable melodies.

Kiss Me, Kate follows the dynamic lives of two actors in the production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

“It’s a thoughtful piece with sophisticated dramaturgy focusing on how onstage performance is affected by an actor’s backstage life,” describes Troy.

The production originally opened on Broadway on Dec. 30, 1948, winning the newly created Best Musical category at the Tony Awards. Half a century later the show continued to win awards with its first major revival in 1999. The Broadway sensation won five Tony Awards and four Outer Critics Circle Awards.

To bring the sensation of Broadway to the Lawrence stage, Troy utilizes a variety of Lawrence talent.

“This production has a real fun mix. Theatre students, opera students, dancers—a very wide group of people are bringing their skill sets to the project,” Troy says.

Two guest artists have returned to the Lawrence Theatre department to add their expertise to the production. Choreographer Susan Van Zant returns from Chicago for her fifth show at Lawrence. Also returning is Milwaukee costume designer Valerie Pruett, highly praised for her work on last spring’s LU production of The Learned Ladies.

Kiss Me, Kate stars Jacob Allen as “Fred/Petruchio” and Kristin Santele as “Lilli/Katharine.” Elaine Moran and Brendan Marshall-Rashid also have major roles.

This high-energy and witty production has delighted audiences for more than 50 years. The Lawrence community is fortunate to have such an exceptional slice of theatre history gracing its stage this week.