WNMTC opens season with Cole Porter's comic "Kiss Me, Kate"

It's never pleasant for a woman to find out that the man of her dreams has sent flowers to another woman. But if she makes the discovery while performing with him in front of an audience, the results can be hilarious.

The Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company opens its 2003 season Friday with the show considered to be Cole Porter's best, "Kiss Me, Kate."

The show will be at the Carson City Community Center in seven performances Friday through May 18.

Recently revived on Broadway to rave reviews, theatergoers are captivated with Porter's music and Bella and Sam Spewak's script.

This is a story about actors putting on a musical version of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew." The show's director and leading man, Fred Graham, finds himself playing opposite his former wife, Lilli Vanessi, who is engaged to the main financial backer of the production.

After some initial hostility, Fred and Lilli rekindle their affection just before the opening of the show. After an impetuous kiss in Fred's dressing room that surprises them both, Lilli returns to her room to receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Fred. She begins her performance as Kate, completely in love with him.

Midway through the opening scene, she disappears to open the card that came with the flowers and discovers that Fred meant to give the flowers to a different actress, Lois Lane. Lilli returns to the set a far more shrewish Kate than Shakespeare ever intended, creating a wild, slapstick scene with Fred. In between scenes, Lilli tells Fred she plans to leave the show.

Two dim-witted gangsters arrive in Fred's dressing room to collect a debt. Fred tells them that he can't repay them unless they force Lilli to stay in the show. They put on ridiculous costumes and join the production, keeping close rein on Lilli.

Mixed with the comedy are some of Cole Porter's greatest tunes: "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "So in Love," "Too Darn Hot," "I Hate Men" and more.

Playing Fred and Lilli are played by Bob Grant (the musical's director) and Lizbeth Niven. Catherine Hearn is Lois Lane, and Christopher Willson is her gambling boyfriend, Bill Calhoun. The gangsters are played by Lev Tagayev and Jeff Whitt. Some 60 singers and dancers complete the cast, accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra.

f You Go:

What: Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate"

Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, May 16, 17; matinees Sunday and May 18 are at 2 p.m. There is also a matinee at 2 p.m. May 17.

Tickets: $14 general, $12 for students and seniors, $8 for youths 17 and under, and $4 for children under 5. Tickets are at Comma Coffee at 312 S. Carson St. and Maytan Music on South Center Street in Reno, or may be charged by phone at the WNCC Performing Arts Office, 445-4249.

Note: Parental guidance advised for suggestive language.


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