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SU Drama caps off season with Cole Porter’s hit musical ‘Kiss Me Kate’
SU Drama caps off season with Cole Porter’s hit musical ‘Kiss Me Kate’April 12, 2005Monica Alfonsomjalfons@syr.edu
The Syracuse University Drama Department concludes the 2004-05 season with “Kiss Me Kate,” Cole Porter’s famed musical twist on William Shakespeare’s comedy “Taming of the Shrew.” Part backstage comedy, part romance, this musical features Porter’s finest score, including songs “Too Darn Hot,” “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” and “Always True to You in My Fashion.” The show opens April 22 and runs through May 14 in the Arthur Storch Theatre. David Wanstreet directs and choreographs, while Amy Wert serves as musical director.
Sam and Bella Spewack’s witty libretto follows the lives of the feuding divorced couple Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi. Both are performers cast as the lead actors in a musical version of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” at Baltimore’s Ford Theatre. Forced to perform together onstage despite their separation, Fred and Lilli’s offstage tension unfolds before the audience in a case of life imitating art. “Kiss Me Kate” is a hilarious battle-of-the-sexes tale set in an exciting world of 1940s glamour and crime.
The musical opened at the New Century Theatre in 1948 and swept the Tony Awards that year, winning Best Musical, Best Script and Best Score. The longest-running musical of Porter’s career, “Kiss Me Kate” ended its run in 1951 after more than 1,000 performances. SU Drama presents the 2000 revival version of “Kiss Me Kate,” which also won five Tonys, including Best Revival and Best Director.
In the role of egotistical actor/director Fred is senior Michael Penna. Senior Jessie Mueller plays his hot-tempered ex-wife Lilli. In the role of Ralph, the company/stage manager, is junior Chris Carpenter. Playing gambler Bill Calhoun and Lucentio is junior Stephen Carrasco, while senior Kristi Williamson plays Fred’s love interest and ingenue Lois Lane. Senior Nick Nerio plays Gremio. Senior Simotra Simone Houston is Hattie, Lilli’s dresser, and sophomore Gerard Taylor is Fred’s dresser Paul. Senior Michael Kevin Girts plays veteran stage actor Harry Trevor and Baptista. Juniors Robbie and Paul Rescigno play two gangsters and sophomore Justin McEllroy is Lilli’s pompous fiancee General Harrison Howell.
The female ensemble cast is comprised of juniors Jennifer Palleria, Kelsey Crouch-Pinter, Sharone Sayegh and Rebecca Weiner, and sophomores Andrea Goss, Casey Leiber and Alexis Ostrander. Sophomores Peter Dagger and Aaron Libby, juniors Jason Shelton and Andrew Sotomayor, and senior Geoff Lutz make up the male ensemble cast.
Design technology senior Chiyo Takashima designed the set, which reflects two different worlds, that of the Ford Theatre and Renaissance Padua, the setting for “Taming of the Shrew.” Senior Kristin Fiebig’s costumes are bold and colorful interpretations of 1940s style, expressing the chaos and energy present in backstage scenes, as earthy colors and textures characterize the costumes worn for the performance scenes. In charge of lighting design is senior Cory Pattak, whose design transforms the stage from the shadowy corridors of the 1940s theater to brightly colored Padua. Sarah Pickett serves as sound designer and senior Samantha Lynn Gershberg is the production’s stage manager.
Tickets for the production are $18 for adults and $16 for students and senior citizens. “Pay what you can night” is for valid SU I.D. holders. For tickets and more information, contact the Drama Department Box Office at (315) 443-3275 or visit http://vpa.syr.edu/drama.