110 W. New York Ave.
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Kiss Me, Kate offers theatergoers music and comedy
posted Sep 14, 2012 - 1:11:34pm
How many reality-TV shows and political-campaign ads can you take? Wouldn't you like to escape the glum entertainment choices you face all too often?
"You walk away laughing, and humming some of the tunes," Anne Sollien said. She is the director of Shoestring Theatre's season-opening musical Kiss Me, Kate.
"I want them to be held captive by the magic of the evening as the lights and sounds transport them to another place and time," Sollien said.
Both comic and romantic, the 1948 Tony Award-winning Cole Porter musical is a play within a play. It's the story of a theater company's rehearsal, show, and intermission of a musical production of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.
Michael Osowski plays the egotistical Fred Graham, the director, and also Petruchio, the lead character in The Taming of the Shrew. Graham casts his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi as Kate (the shrew) to play opposite him. Tori Bunke plays Lilli and Kate.
These two keep things interesting with their rocky romance, and in no small part due to Graham's romantic interest in the attractive young actress Lois Lane. Lois and Bianca, her Taming of the Shrew character, are played by Braille Babcock, a Spruce Creek High School student.
"Her voice is actually very appropriate for a jazzy showgirl, and she is very athletic. She is so talented," Sollien said.
Probably the most recognized musical number in Kiss Me, Kate is the jazzy, finger-snapping "Too Darn Hot." It features Robert Rathbun playing Paul, Fred Graham's dresser and assistant.
"One scene I just love is Tom, Dick or Harry," Sollien said.
This musical number is in the first act, and involves three suitors, Hortensio, Lucentio and Gremio, trying to woo Bianca. She sings that she would marry any of the three, or "Tom, Dick or Harry."
"It's a three-part harmony for the guys; it's just brilliant," Sollien said.
Sollien has participated in community theater for years. She met her husband, Bob Sollien, during a Shoestring production of My Fair Lady in 1992, and encourages people to become involved or try out for a part in the theater.
"Amateur theater is about people, and making friends. You can't meet better people than at community theater," Sollien said. "For heaven's sake, get your kids involved."
For those of you who just wish to enjoy a great evening watching an entertaining plot unfold, and the song and dance of a good show, come see Shoestring Theatre's Kiss Me, Kate.
Perhaps Shoestring's new public-relations director, Kim Crayne, said it best when she said, "It's fun to really enjoy a silly thing."
Besides the actors already mentioned, the cast includes Lloyd Taylor II (playing Bill), David Santiago and Victor Hernandez (as the gangsters), Tiffany Robbins (Hattie), Timothy Akers (Baptista), Ray Wood (General), and an amazing ensemble consisting of Frosty Respess, Aladdin Demps, Joelle Gossman, Keenan Babcock, Kristi Collins, Robert Gunn, Shauna Ward, Sydney Lee and Judson Twitty.
Director Anne Sollien's production team includes stage manager Jan Wood, music director Ben Beck, and choreographer Keelyn Hermansdorfer.
Kiss Me, Kate opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, and continues at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, Friday, Sept. 21, Saturday, Sept. 22, Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, Sunday, Sept. 23, and Sunday, Sept. 30.
Call 386-228-3777 to reserve your tickets now. The cost is $20 for general seating, $17 for senior citizens age 63 or above, $8 for students, and $15 per person for a group of 10 or more.
Season tickets cost only $70 for six shows. You can view the whole season's schedule at http://shoestringtheatre.net/Season.html.
Shoestring Theatre is located at 380 S. Goodwin St. in Lake Helen.
— Shepherd is a professional musician and composer. Contact him at email@example.com.
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