The nation’s capital is full of Bard-themed productions this fall, from Kiss Me, Kate – the famous musical retelling of Taming of the Shrew – to monthly productions of Shakespeare’s plays at local bars around the tri-state area. On Tap caught up with the great minds behind these productions, so read on to get an inside look at our city’s upcoming nods to Shakespeare.
STC’s thirty-something Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul puts his own spin on Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate, at Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) this month through the New Year. Known for his directorial range at STC, from 2013’s slapstick comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum to this spring’s poignant Man of La Mancha, Paul has a real talent for capturing the essence of a musical and drawing audiences into the story. With this modern take on Shakespeare’s comedy about a husband’s “taming” of his hot-tempered wife, Paul is pulling out all of the stops.
“This will be a lavish Broadway-style musical,” Paul says. “We have a big chorus with lots of tap dancers. There are some huge production numbers, like ‘Too Darn Hot,’ where the ensemble will dance their feet off.”
The musical follows a feuding ex-husband and ex-wife in the late 1940s starring in a production of The Taming of the Shrew together. Paul says he wants to capture the romance and magic of what goes on behind the curtain, because who doesn’t want to know what really happens backstage?
Actors Doug Sills and Christine Sherrill star as Fred Graham (playing Petruchio) and Lilli Vanessi (playing Katherina). The duo is making their STC debut, and Paul says they will make a delicious and fiery onstage couple.
Kiss Me, Kate combines the director’s two great passions – musical comedy and Shakespeare – and gives him the opportunity to take audiences by storm with a “sexy show full of young people.”
“It’s frisky and fresh, and a deeply romantic night at the theatre.”
Kiss Me Kate runs from November 17 to January 3 in STC’s Sidney Harman Hall, with standard tickets starting at $44. If you’re under 35, catch a performance for $25 during Young Prose Nights on December 2 or 11, and enjoy a libation and pre- or post-performance soiree.
Sidney Harmon Hall: 610 F St. NW, DC; 202-547-3230; www.shakespearetheatre.org