In the Loop
Student Stories : Oct 26, 2017

Another Openin’ Another Show

UF School of Theatre + Dance presents "Kiss Me, Kate" for Constans 50th Anniversary

By Jordan Sison

Kiss Me, Kate is known as a true American, musical classic. Using the 1999 revival, the UF School of Theatre + Dance (SOTD) is excited to bring to life a production full of fun and entertainment to the Gainesville community and to celebrate the Constans Theatre’s 50th anniversary.

Samuel and Belle Spewack and Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate is a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew that celebrates life in the theatre and the crazy adventures that come with being in show business.

Tony Mata, director of Kiss Me, Kate, expressed its importance as an American classic.

“It really revolutionized the kind of formula of what we call a ‘well-made’ musical,” said Mata, professor and head of musical theatre.

The show involves two different worlds, according to Mata: the 1940s world and the Renaissance world.

“It is a great musical because Cole Porter specifically wrote songs for this musical, unlike other shows that don’t really have songs that were written with the narrative in mind,” he said.  

Students agree that Porter is one of the best in the field. Widlin Pierrevil, a second-year in the B.F.A. Musical Theatre program, said the musical captures the history of the genre.

“This show is a good window into the history that musical theatre has gone through, the good and the bad,” Pierrevil said. “Cole Porter is one of the pioneers of the musical theatre genre. You can’t do better than him.”

Lauren Robinson, a senior in the B.F.A. Musical Theatre program and the leading lady in the production, describes what it is like putting on the revival version of the musical.

“We've tried to breathe new life into some pretty outdated stereotypes, and celebrate the social distance we've gained from them,” Robinson said. “That being said, the dancing is fantastic, the music is gorgeous, and we've done our utmost to celebrate this piece with the same tongue-and-cheek flare the Spewacks employed when writing it.”

Mata beams over his students and the hard work they have put in for this spectacle of a show.

“A lot of the musical theatre students have not done Shakespeare before. For me to see them grow before my eyes and see them have this experience is really why we do these shows,” he said. “I take away the joy of watching my students and seeing them celebrate their work on opening night.”

Mata believes that Kiss Me, Kate will be a show to remember for SOTD’s Constans 50th anniversary.

Kiss Me, Kate is a wonderful centerpiece for our 50th anniversary celebration because it’s all about the theatre,” he said. “One of the greatest things we do is that everyone collaborates to do this production. Musicals are the highest form of collaboration in terms of bringing so many elements of theatre together to make it what it is. I’m very fortunate to have colleagues and students that all work together to create a great piece that our audience can enjoy.”

Pierrevil invites the community to come out and enjoy the spectacle of Kiss Me, Kate.

“It’s a cornerstone of not only theatrical history, but our american cultural history, and it’s just a good time,” the musical theatre student said. “You’re going to laugh. You can cry. And you can empathize. So come spend a night at the theatre and be a part of this celebration of our theatre with us.”

Kiss Me, Kate opens Friday, Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 5.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the event page on our website