ECC combines Shakespeare and Broadway with “Kiss Me, Kate”

Evan Kuhn, Staff Writer

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Blizzard Theater hosts the 2020 production of “Kiss me Kate”

Elgin Community College’s production of the musical “Kiss Me, Kate” was a huge success. The show ran for two weekends in the Blizzard Theater and featured superb acting, singing, dancing and musical performances.

This show is a perfect mix of classic Shakespearean drama and modern Broadway-style musical theatre. When viewing it, the audience gets to experience the entire plot of “The Taming of the Shrew” unfold while also enjoying the upbeat story which contains it.

The plot of “Kiss Me, Kate” revolves around two divorced Broadway actors, Lili Vanessi (played by Elenia Dokos) and Frederic C. Graham (played by Tony Calzaretta), who are brought together while playing Katherine and Petruchio, respectively, in their company’s production of William Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Under the direction of Sarafina Vecchio, the lead roles excellently bring out the emotions of the characters. Dokos’ portrayal of Lili/Katherine was exquisite. She stole the show with extremely expressive acting and impeccable vocal deliveries.

The cast members are all immensely proud to have been a part of this performance, including Mackenzie Hillmann, an ensemble member playing the part of Assistant Stage Manager.

“So often people in general don’t help others,” said Hillmann, “And it’s a nice change to not only help others, but to get help from others in the cast.”

“We really became a family through this process, we love and support each other on stage and off!” Eric Torres, who played Hortensio. “From cast to crew and everyone in between, they are what really made this experience special.”

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Elelia Dokos and Tony Calzaretta bring their best acting skills to the stage.

“Kiss Me, Kate” features plenty of light-hearted moments, such as a tap-dance number performed by Eli Oleson, as well as a comedic waltz sung by the two gangster characters (played by Terry Christanson and Ethan Eckhaus).

The score for the musical, composed by Cole Porter and directed by ECC’s Marc Beth, combines jazz with classic Broadway theme music. Its opening number, “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” has become one of the most recognized show tunes in all of Broadway.

One of the best songs in the show was a dance number called “Too Darn Hot,” which starts off as a slow jazz piece reminiscent of “West Side Story,” then picks up into a lively swing with impressive dance parts.

One can definitely see the hard work, long hours and dedication that were put into bringing this fantastic show to life.

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Terry Christanson and Ethan Eckhaius steal the show as the two gangster characters.