Elgin Community College Musical Theatre will present its production of the classic 1940s Broadway musical “Kiss Me, Kate” Friday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Mar. 1. “Kiss Me, Kate” features music and lyrics by songwriting great Cole Porter and a book penned by Sam and Bella Spewack. The musical is based on William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” The production starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Fridays and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. There is not a performance on Saturday, February 29.
A song-and-dance comedy classic, “Kiss Me, Kate” focuses on a troupe of actors, led by former spouses Lilli Vanessi and Fred Graham, as they battle on- and off-stage during a production of “The Taming of the Shrew.” The musical features romance, comedy, and plenty of hijinks in addition to iconic Porter songs such as “Too Darn Hot,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” “So in Love,” and “Always True to You (In My Fashion).”
ECC Musical Theatre’s production is directed by Sarafina Vecchio with musical direction by ECC Music Program Co-coordinator Marc Beth and choreography by Jen Cupiani. The production’s pit orchestra is comprised of members of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. To serve the play-within-a-play plot of the musical, ECC Musical Theatre’s production has focused on creating two unique aesthetics both within its design and its acting performances: The Ford Theatre in Baltimore and “Taming of the Shrew’s” village of Padua.
Musical Director Marc Beth says that the cast has embraced the challenge of performing dual roles within the production. “They have approached with vigor the task of playing the actors of a Baltimore theatre and the Shakespearean roles that those actors portray,” says Beth. “The complexity of the acting, singing, and dancing is high in this show, and they have brought excitement to all of their various roles.”
Director Sarafina Vecchio earned a post-graduate award in teaching Shakespeare from the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, and has a long history with “The Taming of the Shrew.” Vecchio says, “I have spent a lot of time studying the play as both a literary and performance piece. The chance to direct this group of actors in order to help them understand and unlock the messages within the play was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.” She added, “Our production of ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ funny, fast, and bold!”
Tickets to “Kiss Me, Kate” are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students. Tickets are available online at elgin.edu/arts or the ECC Arts Center box office in Building H. To purchase tickets by phone, call 847-622-0300. Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“Kiss Me, Kate” performances take place at the ECC Arts Center located in Elgin Community College’s Building H, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. The ECC Arts Center can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/eccartscenter and Twitter @eccartscenter.
“Kiss Me, Kate” is presented through special arrangement with TAMS-WITMARK, tamswitmark.com.