Kiss Me, Kate Opens Friday in Saxtons River

SAXTONS RIVER – It’s déjà vu all over again at Main Street Arts as it reprises its 1999 production of the musical “Kiss Me, Kate,” opening Friday, March 1 for a two-week run.

This rollicking version of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” features such memorable Cole Porter tunes as “Another Openin’, Another Show,” “I Hate Men,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

A talented local cast adds its own stamp to the play-within-a-play set in 1948 that switches back and forth between the stormy backstage romance of the show’s producer and its star, his ex-wife, and the theatrical on-stage antics of the willful Kate and her swashbuckling pursuer, Petruccio. The themes of jealousy, as well as mistaken identities and mis-delivered messages, elevate “Kiss Me, Kate” to a classic and perennial crowd pleaser 65 years after its Broadway debut.

The Main Street Arts production is directed by Ben Stockman of Brattleboro, with musical direction by Walt Sayre and choreography by Annesa Hartman. Mary Hepburn is the producer.

The star Lilli and her on-stage alter ego Kate are played by Libby McCawley, who is a match both on and off-stage for her ex-husband Fred and determined suitor Petruccio, played by Steve Griffiths. Hartman as Lois/Bianca and Jordan Mitchell-Love as Bill/Lucentio provide their own on and off-stage subplot centered on an equally rocky romance.

Other cast members include Falko Schilling in the duel role of Harry Trevor and Baptista, plus Jim Malley, Dan Bennett, John Shepard, Victor Brandt, Kathleen Bryar, Amy Howlett, Amy Cann, Gabbi Walton, Morgan Sweeney, Alexandra Mooney and Gail Haas. Griffiths, Malley and Bennett had roles in the original production, and Mooney and Mitchell-Love began acting in children’s theater productions at MSA many years ago.

The sets for this production were designed and painted by Hepburn, with construction by Ostebo. The lighting was designed by Ira Wilner, who also designed the lighting for the 1999 production, and operated by Bob Wickberg. Live musical accompaniment is by Sayre, Jill Newton and Lawrence Wunderle.

Colorful costumes covering a hot summer night in 1948 Baltimore and the streets of medieval Padua, Italy, were designed by Vivian Smith.

Since its second community theater effort in 1999 (following the previous year’s musical version of “Two Gentlemen of Verona”), MSA has produced some 80 plays for adults and children in its 25-year history as a community arts center.

Performances are Friday, March 1 and 8, Saturday, March 2 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 3 and 10 at 3 p.m.

Tickets in advance are $15 for adults and $10 for students and $17 and $12 at the door. They can be purchased at MSA, Misty Valley Books, Village Square Booksellers, or on line at Reservations will not be taken.

Further information is available by calling MSA at (802) 869-29, e-mailing or on Facebook.

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