The first act features the Shakespeare play with the Kiss Me, Kate version serving as support. Josh Gilliam plays both Petruchio and Fred Graham while Shannan Speicher plays Katherine Minola and Lillie Vanessi.
In the initial act, Gilliam’s strong voice is featured in I’ve Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua and Were Thine That Special Face while Speicher tears it up in I Hate Men.
The second act opens with Too Darn Hot, a highlight of the Cole Porter score performed by Paul, played by Alfred Jones, Jr., backed by two stagehands and the company.
There is also another love affair that runs through both plays featuring Emma Rhodes as Lois Lane/Bianca Minola and Bill Calhoun/Luciento played by Lars Hafell which provides a counterpoint to the main story.
Gilliam and Speicher set the tone of the play with their solid acting and singing, and while Kiss Me, Kate has its “modern” moments, in the end, the message is the same in both Act One and Act Two. Kate and Lillie submit to Petruchio and Fred and all live happily ever after – or not.
In any event the 2017-18 CenterStage season is off a fine start. Next up is Smokey Joe’s Café September 7-17, a chance to rock to the songs of Lieber and Stoller.