Thursday February 21, 2013

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."

The MSA 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, 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.

The sets for this production were designed and painted by Hepburn, with construction by Ostebo.

Lighting is by Robert Wickberg. Live musical accompaniment is by Sayre, Jill Newton and Lawrence Wunderle. Costumes were designed by Vivian Smith.

Performances of "Kiss Me Kate" are Fridays and Saturdays, March 1, 2, 8 and 9, at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 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 at www.brattleborotix.com. Reservations will not be taken. For more information, call MSA at 802-869-2960 or e-mail info @mainstreetarts.org.