Skylight Music Theatre Announces Full Cast, Creative Team, and Extension for Musical KISS ME, KATE

Milwaukee, Wis. (April 4, 2019) — Skylight Music Theatre today announced the full cast and creative team for Kiss Me, Kate, plus a one-week extension. The musical will now run Friday,

May 17 through Sunday, June 16, 2019, with special early show times added. Performances are in Skylight’s beautiful Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

 

Kiss Me, Kate, considered one of Broadway’s greatest treasures, won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical. With a sparkling score by Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate follows the onstage romance and backstage passion among a cast putting on a musical version of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. This brilliant battle of the sexes features such unforgettable songs as “Too Darn Hot,” “So In Love,” “Always True To You In My Fashion,” and “Another Op’nin’, Another Show.”

 

Jivoff to Direct, Marking Final Show in Current Artistic Director Role

Ray Jivoff will direct Kiss Me, Kate, marking his final show in his current role as Skylight Music Theatre artistic director.

 

He described Kiss Me, Kate asthe perfect Skylight show because the book is central and reflects our goal of telling stories that sing. The score covers a wide range of styles, from operetta to brassy show tunes, mirroring Skylight’s mission of presenting the full spectrum of music theatre.” Jivoff added that the show is “a delicious challenge requiring performers who can do it all — sing, dance, and handle Shakespearean text.”

 

Wisconsin Connection

Kiss Me, Kate was inspired by the battling of husband-and-wife actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne during their 1935 production of The Taming of the Shrew. Alfred Lunt was a Wisconsin native and the couple owned Ten Chimneys in Genesee Depot, now a southeastern Wisconsin landmark.

 

Kiss Me, Kate first opened on Broadway in 1948, had a Broadway revival in 1999 and is currently running in a new revival at Broadway’s Roundabout Theatre Company starring Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase. This is the first time Skylight has produced the show.

 

The cast will be led by Rána Roman playing Lilli Vanessi/Katharine and Andrew Varela as Fred Graham/Petruchio. Joining them will be Kaylee Annable as Lois Lane/Bianca, Joe Capstick as Bill Calhoun/Lucentio, Jonathan Gillard Daly as Harry Trevor/Baptista/Howell, Ashley Rodriguez as Hattie, Sean Anthony Jackson as Paul/Hortensio, Doug Jarecki as First Man/Stagehand, Kelly Doherty as Second Man/Stagehand and Tim Rebers as Flynt/Gremio.

 

Critics have called Kiss Me, Kate “a classic to be savored” (Los Angeles Times) and “a glorious show!” (The Guardian).

 

Kiss Me, Kate

First time performed at Skylight

May 17 – June 16, 2019

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Sam and Bella Spewack

Recommended for ages 11 and up

 

CAST

Lilli Vanessi/Katharine……………………………………………………………………………………. Rána Roman*

Fred Graham/Petruchio………………………………………………………………………………. Andrew Varela*

Lois Lane/Bianca…………………………………………………………………………………………. Kaylee Annable

Bill Calhoun/Lucentio……………………………………………………………………………………… Joe Capstick*

First Man/Stagehand………………………………………………………………………………………. Doug Jarecki

Second Man/Stagehand………………………………………………………………………………….. Kelly Doherty

Flynt/Gremio understudy Fred……………………………………………………………………………. Tim Rebers

Paul/Hortensio………………………………………………………………………………….. Sean Anthony Jackson

Harry Trevor/Baptista/Howell……………………………………………………………. Jonathan Gillard Daly*

Hattie……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Ashley Rodriguez

Ensemble………………………………. Ryan Cappleman, Haley Haupt, Sydney Kirkegaard, Carmen Risi

 

CREATIVE TEAM

Stage Director……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Ray Jivoff

Music Director……………………………………………………………………………………………….. Kurt Cowling

Choreographer……………………………………………………………………………………………. Amy Brinkman

Lighting Designer…………………………………………………………………………………………… Craig Zemsky

Costume Designer………………………………………………………………………………………… Jason Orlenko

Sound Designer……………………………………………………………………………………………. Adam Seaman

Production Stage Manager……………………………………………………………………….. Daniel J. Hanson*

*Appearing through an agreement between this theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

 

CAST BIOGRAPHIES

Rána Roman (Lili Vanessi/Katherine) is a Milwaukee native and proud graduate of Milwaukee High School of the Arts. Previous roles at Skylight include: Yum-Yum in Hot Mikado, Nina in In The Heights and Alexi Darling in Rent. She has also recently been seen as Mrs. Crachit in A Christmas Carol, the ensemble for In the Heights and as Mrs. Webb in Our Town at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre; as well as Ella in Life Sucks and Jania in Exit Strategy at Forward Theater of Madison.

 

Andrew Varela (Fred Graham/Petruchio) Broadway and National Tours: Javert in the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Misérables; The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera; Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, Sunday in the Park with George, Cats, Little Women: The Musical, and South Pacific with Alec Baldwin and Reba McIntyre at Carnegie Hall. He received the 2018 Footlights Award for Outstanding Performance in a Musical for Sweeney Todd at Skylight. Also at Skylight: Daddy Warbucks in Annie; The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance; Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz; and Javert in Les Misérables.   Other credits: Guys and Dolls at Milwaukee Rep; James and the Giant Peach at First Stage; El Gallo in The Fantasticks at In Tandem Theater. Frequent guest host of The Morning Blend on WTMJ4.

 

Kaylee Annable (Lois Lane/Bianca) Previous Skylight credits include: Little Sally in Urinetown, Isabel in Pirates of Penzance, Little Red Ridinghood in Into the Woods, and Ensemble/Understudy Colette in Les Misérables. Other recent credits include: Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act, Wednesday in Addams Family, and Little Red Ridinghood in Into the Woods at Derby Dinner Playhouse, and Ensemble/Principal in Godspell: 2012 Revised Version at Red Crescendo Theatre Company.

 

Joe Capstick (Bill Calhoun/Lucentio) returns to Skylight Music Theatre where he was last seen as Billy Krudzik in Zombies from The Beyond. Chicagoland credits include the ensemble of Holiday Inn at Marriott Theatre and the ensembles of 42nd Street, Crazy for You, and South Pacific at Drury Lane Theatre. Capstick was also seen as George in The Drowsy Chaperone at Peninsula Players Theatre in Door County, Wisconsin.

 

CREATIVE TEAM BIOGRAPHIES

Ray Jivoff (Stage Director) was named Artistic Director in 2017 and has been working at Skylight since 1990. In 1999, he joined Skylight staff as Education Director and started Enlighten, Skylight’s education program, which includes the Partner School Program, offering music theatre education to students in eight MPS schools; two touring shows —The Standard Songbook and KidsWrites and The High School Musical Celebration. As an actor, he has appeared in Skylight’s La Cage Aux Folles, Animal Crackers, Adding Machine, Guys and Dolls, The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and The Producers. He directed Pippin, Urinetown, Hair, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and Sing Me a Story at Skylight; The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, Revised and The Sum of Us at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre; West Side Story at UW- Milwaukee and Anything Goes, Little Shop of Horrors and Into the Woods at Marquette University.

 

Kurt Cowling (Music Director) is a pianist, composer, arranger and author based in the Milwaukee area. Past theater credits include work with Skylight (Zombies from The Beyond), Milwaukee Rep, American Players Theatre, Fireside Theater and First Stage. He has many commercial jingles airing in the Midwest. He currently performs with Platinum and previously with Streetlife. His book, “Gospel Piano” has been a best seller on Amazon in the category of Gospel Music Books.

 

Amy Brinkman (Choreographer) is currently Director of Education for Danceworks, where she has also worked as a teacher, choreographer, performer, and administrator. Brinkman has an extensive background in both dance and musical theatre and has choreographed both concert dance and musicals for many high schools, community theatres and universities over the past 25 years. In 2000, she founded Danceworks On Tap, Danceworks’ resident tap dance company and has been the lead tap instructor for Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap program since 2006. In addition to teaching at Danceworks, she is also on the dance faculties at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University.

 

Performance Information

Performances of Kiss Me, Kate run May 17- June 16, 2019 in the Cabot Theatre, Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

 

Tickets & Box Office

Tickets are $30 – $75 (plus tax and fees) and can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, by calling (414) 291-7800, or visiting www.skylightmusictheatre.org

 

Box Office hours are Monday – Saturday, noon – 6 p.m. The Box Office window is open two hours prior to each performance. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more by calling (414) 299-4964 or email morganh@skylightmusictheatre.org.

 

Special Events

Skylight Insights. In-depth discussions with directors and special guests take place one hour before every Wednesday and Sunday performance.

 

ASL Performance. Kiss Me, Kate will be interpreted in American Sign Language on Friday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets for this performance, call Skylight Music Theatre’s Box Office at (414) 291-7800 and mention ASL performance for seating in the appropriate section or go online and enter code ASL to view and purchase these seats.

 

For more information visit www.skylightmusictheatre.org, email info@skylightmusictheatre.org or call the Box Office at (414) 291-7800.

 

Skylight Bar & Bistro

Skylight Bar & Bistro is located on the second floor of The Broadway Theatre Center. It is open two hours before each performance in the Cabot Theatre and features gourmet dining and fine wine by Indulge Wine Room. Reservations for full table service are recommended and can be made in advance at www.skylightmusictheatre.org/bistro or by calling (414) 291-3773. Counter service is available without reservations.

 

Parking Vouchers on Sale

Purchase discounted parking vouchers from the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office for use in the Historic Third Ward parking garage at 212 N. Milwaukee Street (one block east and one block north). Vouchers can be purchased for $5 during normal Box Office hours. Vouchers are valid between 5 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. for evening performances only. Voucher sales stop 30 minutes before showtime and are not available during intermission. No refunds.

 

About Skylight Music Theatre

Skylight Music Theatre will celebrate its 60th Anniversary Season in 2019-2020. Its mission since 1959: To bring the full spectrum of music theatre works to a wide and diverse audience in celebration of the musical and theatrical arts and their reflection of the human condition. Skylight presents productions “Skylight Style” – bringing fresh approaches or interesting twists to music theatre works, creating meaningful connections, not only between the characters on stage but with the audience as well. The beautiful, intimate Cabot Theatre allows audiences to feel close to the powerful emotions on stage.

 

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