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December 10, 2016
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arts & leisure

A stellar 'Kiss Me Kate' in Tusten

Meredith Hudak, Cody Ryan and Lindsey Grebeldinger

“I should hope so!” The general exclaims when Lilli desperately tries to tell him that the two men behind her have guns. He fully supports the second amendment and explains, “Guns don’t kill people, we do.”

Jacqueline Rose played the bubbly and sassy Lois Lane. Rose has a tremendously beautiful mezzo-soprano voice, my personal favorite, and fit the role perfectly. Her perky character grabbed the spotlight with ease as she sang “Why Can’t You Behave?” to her troublesome boyfriend, Bill (Cody Ryan), who gambled his way into a pickle with a couple of gangsters.

The gangsters (Mark Robinson and Scott Silipino) bring their own special brand of goofiness to “Kiss Me Kate.” The two enormous thugs, played as lovable rather than intimidating, looked perfectly ridiculous in their Shakespearian costumes, making for some very entertaining scenes. These two men became some of my favorite characters in the play and did an excellent job on their song “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” which had two encores.

The musical has a romantic and funny ending, mirroring the plot of “The Taming of The Shrew.” In a way, Lilli is the shrew and Fred finally tames her in the end.

The small ensemble did a wonderful job and all of the lead roles were fitting to their characters. Carol Castel put a lot of work into this production and received a surprise bouquet from the actors during curtain call. “I’m chief cook and bottle washer,” she chuckled when I asked her what aspects of the production she was involved with. She is stage director, artistic director, as well as general manager for the DVO, and has been with the company for about 25 years.

“Kiss Me Kate” was an excellent production, and from this experience I would highly recommend seeing their plays. These performances would absolutely appeal to young adults and teenagers as well as parents and grandparents.

The upcoming show is a light operetta called “Merry Wives of Windsor”. As Castel puts it, “This season is a pot pourri of inspiration from Shakespeare. It is a circus of Shakespeare!” For more information about the DVO, visit www.DelawareValleyOpera.org or call 845/252-3136.