WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- If you would like to experience a sophisticated evening of entertainment mixed with comedy, drama and music, you can look no further than the production, "Kiss Me Kate," now playing through Nov. 3 at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford.
The unique "play-within-a-play" was composed by the legendary Cole Porter who, in his own innovative way, mixed the classic William Shakespeare play 'The Taming of the Shrew.' The tale depicts the love-hate relationship of a famous actor and actress, who are thrown together in a re-telling of the classic play.
We are told that a young stage manager, Arnold Saint Subber, observed the off-stage volatile relationship of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine. He would find the two arguing one moment and kissing the next. Those of my generation can envision the same love-hate relationship of the iconic Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Their relationship on and off stage was tabloid fodder for two decades.
Appearing as Fred Graham/Petrucio and Lilli Vanessi/Katharine are William Michals and Christianne Tisdale. They bring an energy on stage that is mesmerizing. The verbal sparring between the two escalates to a physical level as we see many an upper-cut jab and flower vase smashed throughout the production.
\Ms. Tisdale delivers an intense rendition of "I Hate Men." Her terrorizing gaze and gnawled facial expressions captivated the audience. I am sure that every woman in her audience has felt the way that Tisdale's Lilli does, at one or more points in their lives. While the men could identify with being the target of such wrath.
At the opposite end of the sprectrum, Tisdale gives a heart tugging solo in "So In Love," which, likewise, every female member of the audience has experienced in their lives.
The supporting cast is flawless in their musical numbers, as we enjoy such favorites as "Another Op'nin', Another Show" and "It's Too Darn Hot." The latter is essayed in such an intense, sizzling fashion, that I was obliged to loosen my shirt collar.
The choreography, under the direction of James Brennan, is staged with such precision accuracy, that leaves the audience enthralled at every moment on stage. Be it an Elizabethan dance or vintage jazz of the mid-20th century, the cast hits their mark every time. Mr. Brennan should also be given kudos for being the director of this fine evening's worth of entertainment.
Serving as the sultry and ditzy blonde is Missy Dowse who plays Lois Lane. Her love interest, Bill Calhoun, is played by Brian Ogilvie.
Calhoun's wide-eyed dreams of hitting it big, has landed him into trouble. His hefty gambling debt sets the stage for the arrival of two thugs who are all too eager to collect. Be it cement shoes or a pocket full of lead, the two gangsters, as portrayed by Michael Kubala and Michael J. Farina, are ready to oblige. The audience howled with laughter when these two denizens of the underworld found themselves onstage with the rest of the cast. The sight of them, in their Elizabethan era garb, is worth the ticket price alone, if nothing else. Their rendition of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" can be appreciated by anyone who, in their high school days, struggled with studying the works of the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon. It was hilarious.
Overall, a delightful evening of music and song, intermixed with drama and comedy, was had by all.
The show runs through Nov. 3. I strongly urge you to make your reservations by calling the box office at (914)-592-2222, or online.