Spring Play '11: Ridenour to end on a high note with "Kiss Me, Kate"
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 11:43am
What: "Kiss Me, Kate" with music and lyrics by Cole Porter
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: North Attic Playhouse, Uni High
How Much: $7 for students, $8 for adults
What to Expect: With a unique plot and entertaining songs, "Kiss Me, Kate" looks to be a fun, memorable experience for everyone. In addition, it will be fine arts teacher Barbara Ridenour's last show before she leaves Uni.
UNI FINE ARTS teacher Barbara Ridenour announced earlier in the year that she would be retiring this summer. However, she still has time for one last show and it looks to be a hit. Uni's spring musical, "Kiss Me, Kate", opens this week.
"[Fine arts teacher] Mr. [Rick] Murphy and I have often considered "Kiss Me, Kate" for the spring musical," explains Ridenour, "and since this is my last show, and since we had the singers, we decided to do it."
The show will be performed in the North Attic on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., as well as on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 for students and $8 for adults, and are on sale now in the Uni main office. Ridenour warns that they will probably not be available at the door, so students are advised to purchase theirs promptly.
"Kiss Me, Kate" was first performed on Broadway in 1948. The play, with music and lyrics written by Cole Porter, revolves around a group of actors performing Shakespeare's "The Taming of a Shrew" and the drama that goes on between them.
The cast of the musical includes many familiar faces to Uni theater, including senior Ben Zehr who plays Fred Graham.
"He's an egotistical producer who has been involved with both of the female leads in his play," says Zehr of his character. "I dislike how many Shakespeare lines I have to memorize, but it's fun."
Joining Zehr are fellow seniors Buck Walsh (Bill Calhoun) and Stephanie Senior (Lois Lane), both of whom have some experience with Uni productions. However, one new face to look out for is that of junior Sarah Sutter who, in her first Uni play, is taking on the lead role as Lilli Vanessi.
Despite her inexperience with acting, Sutter does have considerable experience with singing as an avid member of Uni Madrigals. It will serve her well too, as music plays an important role in this production.
"His [Cole Porter's] music is always a lot of fun," comments Walsh. "I think that's what's really great about the music in the play- not that it's particularly profound or anything, but that it's a lot of fun and gives lots of room for the actors and singers to have fun with it."
However, "Kiss Me, Kate" boasts more than just good musical numbers. Murphy also notes that the plot of the play itself is unique and makes it well worth seeing.
"I like the story within the story," he says, referring to how the characters in the play are, in fact, performing their own play. "And I like all of the Shakespeare double meanings. [...] The show itself is fun because it allows for some more variety."
Fun as it may be, it has also been some hard work for the cast and crew. As they gear up for Thursday night's opening show, they are putting in a lot of effort to make sure everything falls into place.
"Every show is difficult to produce, but musicals are the most difficult with all the extra elements involved. This one is no exception," says Ridenour. "It's been a lot of hard work, just like anything worthwhile."
However, Walsh says he for one feels ready to get up on stage.
"I feel surprised saying so, but really we were in pretty good shape on Sunday tech rehearsal," he says. "Usually shows have a lot of trouble coming together until the last minute, but this seems to be working out really well and we're making huge leaps of progress in this week alone."
To reward the actors for all their work, audience members will have the opportunity to purchase flowers from Habitat for Humanity club before the show or during intermission. The club will be selling bundles of two carnations for $3 to raise money for their cause while simultaneously supporting the actors in "Kiss Me, Kate".
"There are so many aspects to appreciate," says Ridenour. "The music under the direction of Mr. Murphy, who serves as vocal coach, accompanist, orchestra director, and pianist in the pit, the choreography by Whitney Havice, who is working on a show at Uni for the first time, the costumes and hair styles by Mary Stasheff, who has been costuming at Uni for a great number of years, and the cast and crew."
"People should expect a fun time," concludes junior Maia Gersten (Hattie). "It's an enjoyable play, very humorous; people are going to be dying of laughter."
"We've put a lot of work into it," she adds, "and can't wait to show it off!"
CAST & CREW: "KISS ME, KATE"
Pops -Arch Robison
Hattie -Maia Gersten
Paul -Cameron Cornell
Ralph -Kahlilah Cooke
Lois Lane -Stefanie Senior
Bill Calhoun -Buck Walsh
Lilli Vanessi -Sarah Sutter
Dance Captain -Jason He
Fred Graham -Ben Zehr
Harry Trevor -Oliver Goldbart
Stagehand # 1 -Sam LeRoy
First Man -Will Erickson
Second Man -Charlie Newman
Flynt/Gremio -Jack Gillette
Riley/Hortensio -Sterling Lemme
Stagehand #2 -William Givens
Stangehand #3 -Elbert Wang
General Harrison Howell -Chris Mathy
Wardrobe Lady -Hannah Johlas
Ensemble Dancers: "KISS ME, KATE"
Pit Orchestra: "KISS ME, KATE"
Trumpets -Ian Slauch, Robbie McMillen
Flute -Marie Lilly
Oboe -Sierra Maniates-Selvin
Percussion -David Bergvelt
Clarinet -Leif Hague
Euphonium -Linus Erbach
Violins -Chae Won Park, Joshua Meling, Chelsea Edwards
Cello -Petra Rantanen