A comedy by William Shakespeare; Directed by John Davis
Katherine is an outspoken woman with a sharp tongue and quick temper. When she meets Petruchio and the two fall in love, he challenges her temperament and tries to make her behave. Let the controversy begin!
The Taming of the Shrew is a Project STAGE production. Project STAGE stands for Students Through Acting Gain Education. Discounted tickets are available for school groups for the two weekday-morning 10 a.m. performances. These "school matinees" also include post-performance "talk-back" discussions with the play's actors. Weathervane Playhouse's Project STAGE productions are supported by by the generous support of Akron Community Foundation, Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation and Omnova Soluntions Foundation.
►CLICK HERE to see photos from the production on Weathervane's Flickr page!
ABOUT THE PLAY'S HISTORY AND ADAPTATIONS
Literary scholars report that William Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew at some point between 1590 and 1591. One of the first pieces of evidence of the very first production of the play comes from a diary entry written by the Elizabethan-era theatrical entrepreneur Philip Henslowe, who recorded (on June 13, 1594) that he attended a performance of The Tamynge of A Shrowe at the Newington Butts Theatre (in the present-day area of the London Borough of Southwark). More than 400 years later, The Taming of the Shrew continues to entertain and inform generation after generation of theater-goers. And with each new production of the comedy, Shakespeare’s comic examination of the war between the sexes continues to spark lively debate. Is Katherina truly “tamed” by Petruchio – or is it Petruchio who is “tamed” by Katherina’s strong will?
The Internet Broadway Database lists 24 separate Broadway productions of Shakespeare's comedy (in the years between 1768 and 1957). Theatrical legends – and real-life husband and wife – Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne played Petruchio and Katherina in the 1935 Theatre Guild production, which holds the distinction of being Broadway’s longest-running production of The Taming of the Shrew (at 129 performances). Other memorable 20th century productions include the 1960 pairing of Peter O’Toole and Peggy Ashcroft with the Royal Shakespeare Company, a 1978 New York Shakespeare Festival production with Raul Julia and Meryl Streep, and a 1990 New York Shakespeare Festival production (set in the old west) with Morgan Freeman and Tracey Ullman.
The Taming of The Shrew has also sparked several notable adaptations and “re-tellings.” Shakespeare’s comedy has been adapted into no fewer than seven separate operas. Choreographer John Cranko created a ballet version in 1969. Dozens of film versions – in dozens of languages – have illuminated the comedy in both movie theaters and on television. Cinematic master D.W. Griffith’s 1908 silent version appears to be the earliest film adaptation. A 1929 movie version paired screen legends Douglas Fairbanks as Petruchio opposite Mary Pickford as Katherina. The 1967 version by director Franco Zeffirelli matched Richard Burton with Elizabeth Taylor. In a very loose fashion, Shakespeare’s comedy also motivated the 1999 teen-themed comedy, 10 Things I Hate About You, in which with Julia Stiles played Kat Stratford (the Katherina-inspired heroine) and Heath Ledger played as Patrick Verona (the Petruchio-inspired hero).
Perhaps most famously, The Taming of the Shrew inspired Cole Porter’s musical comedy, Kiss Me, Kate – which opened on Broadway in 1948 and was later filmed for the silver screen in 1953. Legend has it that Porter’s inspiration came from the backstage squabbles between Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne during their 1935 Broadway run as Petruchio and Katherina.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) married Anne Hathaway in 1582; they had a daughter, Susanna, in 1583, and twins, Hamnet and Judeth, in 1585. Shakespeare’s early life was spent in Statford-on-Avon. By 1594, he ermerged as a rising young playwright in London and was a member of the preeminent theater company of his day, the Lord Chamberlain’s Company (later to be known as the King’s Men). The first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays – known as the First Folio – was printed in 1623. Though literary scholars and biographers still argue about his authorship of such a breathtaking body of work, Shakespeare is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest writers of all time. His plays, written in English in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, are to this day performed in more languages and with more frequency than those of almost any other playwright. Truly, the Bard of Avon’s endurance and influence has more than fulfilled Ben Johnson’s prophesy that Shakespeare was “not of age but for all time.”
CAIT McNEAL (Katherina) last appeared on our stage last spring as Irene Adler in Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. In 2010, she played Levi’s wife on our stage in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. A sophomore in the Visual and Performing Arts Program at Akron’s Firestone High School, she played Mayzie LaBird in Weathervane’s Seussical in 2010. Alson on on our stage, she played Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Issachar's Wife in 2009’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Gypsy Mama in Madeline and the Gypsies, Egeus in A Midsummer Night's Dream, a chorus member in 2008’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Madame in Disney's The AristoCats KIDS.
ISABELLE POST (Bianca) is in the ninth grade at Copley-Fairlawn High School and this production marks her 14th career-theater production (and her sixth at Weathervane). This past fall, she played Madge in her school’s production of George Washington Slept Here. She has been seen on stage at Weathervane as the Steward in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Billy, a Baker Street Irregular, in Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes; a wife in the 2009 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; and a wife and Mrs. Potiphar in the 2010 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She has been seen in a national TV commercial for Smart Balance Butter, an Internet advertisement for City to Suburban Chic, an extra in the movie The Squad and an extra in the TV pilot Who Am I? She is also a member of Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra and Chorus.
RYAN KIRKPATRICK (Baptista) played Mr. Merriweather on our stage last spring in Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. He is a junior at Kent State University, where he is studying theater and is active in KSU’s improv-comedy group, The Portage County Players. He is a graduate of Cuyahoga Falls High School, where he played the title role in Macbeth and John Proctor in The Crucible. When he’s not studying for school or acting on the stage, he enjoys professional wrestling.
BEAU REINKER (Petruchio) last appeared on our stage this past fall as Dick Powell in Shakespeare in Hollywood. Last spring, he played the Duke of Bohemia in our Young Actor Series production of The Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. He is a theater major at Kent State University. With Ohio Shakespeare Festival, he has appeared in King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Richard III and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Elsewhere, his other credits include Into the Woods, Twelfth Night, Three Sisters, Picasso at the Lapine Agile, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific and The Two Halves of Andrew’s Brain.
STEVEN NUNLEY (Gremio) is an annual participant at Weathervane. Inbetween aspirations to be an I.T. specialist and game designer, he has appeared here in 2009’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2010’s The Great White Hope and 2011’s Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. A self-styled “Renaissance Man” with a leather cap and a lot of heart, Steven is never without something he’s working on, be it writing, learning to code, learning how to make music, animate and many other tasks. He’s always happy to drag friends and castmates alike into his life and always happy for a chance to bond with people – especially actors – like himself.
DEVEN FENN (Lucentio) is a junior at Tallmadge High School, where his academic accomplishments have earned him a Scholastic Gold Key Award and spots on the school’s honor roll and merit roll. His previous stage credits include Give and Take (at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Akron) and Tom Saywer, The Poe Play, Flowers for Algernon, When We Dead Awaken and Save the World (all at Dynamics Community Theater in Tallmadge). Deven says that his future goals include becoming a professional film and theater actor.
RYAN HINMAN (Hortensio) played Dr. Watson No. 1 and John Clay on our stage last spring in Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. Also on our stage, he played Lt. Wickham in 2010’s Pride and Prejudice and Tom Snout in 2009’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. Now a junior at Kent State University, he is a member of the university’s Honors College. Outside of the classroom, he is an active member of KSU’s improv-comedy group, The Portage County Players, and enjoys playing on KSU’s traveling dodgeball team.
JASON DAVIS (Grumio) played the title role on our stage last spring in Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. A senior at Kent State University, Jason’s previous Weathervane credits include Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and Philip in The Lion in Winter. He also won a Chanticleer Award for his performance as Jim in The Rainmaker. Jason thanks his family “for their unfailing love and support, and Weathervane, too!”
AIDAN KRANZ (Pendant) made his Weathervane debut as a (Baker Street Investigator) in last spring’s Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. He is a sophomore at Medina High School, where he has earned a spot on the school’s honor roll. Elsewhere, his theatrical credits include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Of Mice and Men. Off the stage, Aidan enjoys playing baseball.
DYLAN LOUIS (Tranio) is a sophomore at Kent State Univeristy. Last year, he played Roderigo in Othello with the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival and Beadle/Beatle in Jet of Blood at KSU. Among his future goals, Dylan says that he would like to be “the resident Shakespearean” at an Ivy League university.
NOAH CASINO (Biondello) most recently played Zebulon on our stage in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; he also played the same role in 2010’s production of the show. He also recently played Ali Baba in Sahara Nights at Our Lady of the Elms High School in Akron. A home-schooled, sophomore-level student, Noah has also performed in several productions – The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Christmas Story and The Island of the Blue Dolphins – at Magical Theatre Company in Barberton. His special skills include 10 years of piano instruction, a black belt in karate, dance training (including tap, ballet and hip-hop), juggling, and playing the guitar and the harmonica.
GUILLERMO MENDEZ (Vincentio) is a junior at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, where his theatrical credits include Luis Montoya in Dead Man Walking, Carl in Picture Day and Pete in Almost Maine. He makes his Weathervane Playhouse debut in this production.
TAYLOR McWILLIAMS-WOODS (Tailor), a sophomore at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent, has appeared in her school’s productions of Rehearsal for Murder and Brigadoon. Elsewhere, her other credits include JoJo in Seussical: The Musical, Kate in The Legend of Katastrophe Kate and the title role in Mary Poppins. She makes her Weathervane Playhouse debut in this production.
DEREK HICKMAN (Curtis) is active in the Theatre Arts Career Academy, the drama club and three choirs at Tallmadge High School, where he is presently in his junior year. Before coming to Weathervane, Derek appeared in The Aliens are Coming at Tallmadge Middle School and in five separate productions of a play called I Forget, which were staged at such venues as Tallmadge Middle School and First Apostolic Church.
GABE REED (Nathaniel) is a sophomore at Wadsworth High School, where he has appeared on stage in A Christmas Carol, Fiddler on the Roof and Pride and Prejudice. Elsewhere, he appeared in The Big Bad Musical, The Secret Garden and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Wadsworth Middle School and he has also appeared in several productions at Magical Theatre Company in Barberton. He is active with his school’s symphonic band, jazz band, show choir and speech-and-debate team. He also participates in fencing.
JOSEPH LANSINGER (Joseph) most recently played the roles of Young George and Peter Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life at Dynamics Community Theater in Tallmadge. He was a member of Weathervane’s 2011 Summer Stock ensemble, which presented The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang. He is an eighth grader at Tallmadge Middle School, where he has appeared in productions of Jolly Roger and the Pirate Queen and Gumshoe High. Outside of school and the stage, he enjoys writing stories and playing video games.
DANIEL WALKER (Peter) is a junior at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, where he has appeared on stage in Grease and Bye Bye Birdie. Elsewhere, he appeared at North High School in 2008 in A Christmas Carol: The Musical. His previous Weathervane experience was as a member of the 2008 Summer Stock ensemble, which presented The Outsiders. Daniel says that he plans to pursue acting as his chosen profession.
Emma EMMA PICHT (Servant) most recently appeared in Woody Guthrie’s American Song at Actors’ Summit in Akron, where audiences also saw her play Tiny Tim in 2010’s A Christmas Carol. She spent the summer of 2011 performing with Ohio Shakespeare Festival (in Richard III and Love’s Labour’s Lost) on the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron. On our stage, she played one of the whimsical jungle animals in 2010’s Seussical: The Musical. In 2009, at Magical Theatre Company in Barberton, she played Kirsti in Number the Stars. A seventh grader at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Akron, Emma also plays in the Akron Youth Philharmonic.
CARMEN RAMOS (Servant) is a junior at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, where she has lettered in both academics and band. Prior to coming to Weathervane, Carmen appeared on her school’s stage in Grease and Little Shop of Horrors.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
JOHN DAVIS (Director) spent last winter and spring with Weathervane as the director for the world-premiere production of Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes (which Weathervane Playhouse commissioned from playwright Derek Davidson). A professional actor, director and fight choreographer for the past 26 years, John is best known for his comedy sword-fighting show, Hack and Slash, which has been seen in 16 countries with over 4,000 performances (including more than 100 performances for the allied forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan). John has received certification from five major stage-combat organizations worldwide and is a recognized instructor with the International Order of the Sword and Pen. John is also a professor in the theater department at Oberlin College. He has directed shows in Baltimore, Miami, Nashville, Annapolis, Montgomery and – most recently – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead for the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival.
JEFF BIXBY (Stage Manager) most recently sang the role of Jacob on our stage in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Last spring, he served Weathervane Playhouse as the stage manager of Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. In 2010, he served as our assistant stage manager of A Tuna Christmas. After growing up in Medina and then graduating from Kent State University, he taught elementary school for 30 years in Cincinnati before retiring and moving back to the Akron area (which he says he loves). He won a Marquee Award (from the Youngstown Area Community Theatre Awards) for his 2009 Weathervane performance as the Barber in Man of La Mancha and he was seen on our stage as Clarence the Angel in 2009’s Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge. Off stage, Jeff has also helped with Weathervane’s stage properties and lighting, and was assistant stage manager for The Wedding Singer in 2010. Outside of Weathervane, Jeff serves as a member of the boards of CANAPI and The Illusion Factory.
NINA DiSALVO (Assistant Stage Manager) last year played Mr. Mistoffelees in Cats at The Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. Here at Weathervane, she played Mrs. Turner in last spring’s Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. Also on our stage, she played the Court Tailor in 2011’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Reuben’s Wife in the 2010 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Also in 2010, she served as the assistant stage manager for our production of Pride and Prejudice. She is a senior at Tallmadge High School, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and ranks among the top 20 members of her class. Nina says her future goal is “to serve God’s purpose for my life.”
JUDY WILLEMSEN (Sound Designer) last designed the sound for a Weathervane production in 2010, when she fashioned a “soundscape” for the New York City setting of Italian American Reconciliation. She first walked through Weathervane’s doors about 25 years ago and was greeted by Helen Fleming. After a brief tour of our facility, Helen introduced Judy to Weathervane’s many volunteer opportunities. Looking back, Judy says that it all sounded good then and sounds even better now. Over the years, Judy has contributed to our success by serving in such multi-faceted roles as technical designer, crew member, stage manager and performer. Although she has contribute d her time and talents to far too many shows to list here, her handiwork has delighted our audiences for such shows as The Piano Lesson, The Laramie Project, Harvey, The Diary of Anne Frank, My Three Angels, James and the Giant Peach, Children of a Lesser God and Prelude to a Kiss. “Thanks, Helen,” says Judy. “It’s all your fault I am still around!”
ZACH NUSBAUM (Lighting Designer) is currently taking a break from Kent State University to prepare for basic training with the United States Air Force. He will be leaving in mid-April, making this his last show with us until he returns. At Weathervane, he has run the light board on too many shows to mention, and he designed the lighting for last fall’s Shakespeare in Hollywood. At Copley High School, he designed lights for many productions including, but not limited to, The 2010 Man of the Year. In his “spare time,” he runs a DJ/Live Audio Company called MoK 5 Entertainment.You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your music and party needs!
PAMELA PARKS COSTA (Properties Designer) served Weathervane last spring as the co-designer of properties for Art of Deduction: Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes. Before that, she collaborated with Karen Burridge to design the stage properties for Weathervane’s Quilters. Also for Weathervane, she designed the stage properties for Seussical: The Musical in 2010, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Perfect Wedding in 2009, Ragtime in 2008 and The Frog Prince in 2007. Before bringing her talents to Weathervane, she and her husband, Al, spent several years in assisting in the creation of theatrical programs at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. She is the mother of two grown daughters and three lively and growing grandchildren, and she is quite proud of all of them.
JASEN J. SMITH (Costume Designer) joined the Weathervane professional staff in August 2008 as its Resident Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager. Since then, he has designed costumes for the Playhouse's productions of Children of Eden, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Bloody Murder, Intimate Apparel and Pride and Prejudice among others. His co-costuming credits include Putting It Together (with Adam Thatcher) and Man of La Mancha (with Hedy Jones), the latter of which earned him and his collaborator the Chanticleer Award for best costume design. Jasen also won the 2009 Marquee Award for Best Costume Design from the Youngstown Area Community Theatre Association for his work on Children of Eden. Elsewhere, his other regional costume-design credits include Porthouse Theatre (The Odd Couple), Case Western Reserve University (How I Learned to Drive and The Philadelphia Story) and the Ohio Light Opera (Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, Robin Hood and The Merry Widow).
ALAN SCOTT FERRALL (Scenic Designer and Technical Director) began his association with Weathervane as a backstage volunteer under the tutelage of the late John R. Thomas. This is Scott's 15th season as a Weathervane staff member, serving as the Resident Technical Director and Scenic Designer. Previously, he worked at Cuyahoga Falls High School. He has designed sets for many local high schools as well as for the Players Guild of Canton, Cleveland Signstage Theatre and Western Reserve Public Media. At Weathervane Playhouse, Scott has earned several Chanticleer Awards: one as stage manager for Fences, lighting designs for The Laramie Project and A Lesson Before Dying; co-lighting designs for A Man for All Seasons, The Full Monty and Man of La Mancha and, most recently, for Best Technical Element/Young Actor Series for his lighting design for the 2010 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.