Every performer can give you their short list of characters that they want to play before their time runs out… aka. they are too old. On my top 3 is the role of Kate in Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate”. Surprisingly, I have never seen a production of this show. This is probably because it is hard! Jazzy chords, hard choreography and singers that need to be able to belt and sing in an operatic style. It’s not common that a community theatre group can pull of this show. But Alexander Showcase Theatre was up to the task!
There’s something to be said about the leading characters in any show. Not only do they have the most stage time and therefore a more demanding role in the show, but they also need to ‘lead’ the cast; both as the ‘leading’ character in the show but also as a ‘leader’ to their fellow actors both on & off the stage. I have seen many Alexander Showcase Theatre productions and have been in a few of their shows as well. So it could be said that when I go one of their shows, I know what to expect. There is no doubt that one of their shows are going to be an overwhelming success when Patrick Brown is leading the cast. His strength as an actor is remarkable, the dedication to his character is flawless, and his natural god-given talent is tremendous. It is obvious that every time he’s on stage every other performer is at their best and exceeding expectations. It is always a pleasure to watch Pat as you know you will always be pleased and thoroughly entertained. He does a wonderful job of portraying the handsome, full-of-himself Fred Graham/Petruchio.
Total honesty: I want to play Lilli/Katharine so badly. So, being the soprano that I am, there was a part of me that came into the show ready to hate whatever lovely lady had been cast in the role. And I tried. God help me, I really tried to hate Finnie Jesson. But it’s just so damn hard! She was everything I wanted in Kate and more. She’s a beautiful soprano, a strong presence, and has remarkable comedic timing. She and Patrick brought out the best in each other and exemplified what true comradary on stage looks like. Ok Finnie, you won me over. You are just so damn charming!
It was so fantastic to see James Rowan play the role of Bill Calhoun/Lucentio. James is such a fun, caring guy in real life and I was really excited to watch him bring this role to life. He is charming, nimble, and just a little bit slimy as Mr. Calhoun. And those dance moves… Damn boy! Hot stuff!
A huge congrats to Jaime Robertson for doing some of the best choreography I have seen to date from her!.”Tom, Dick or Harry” and “Too Darn Hot” were amazing and worth the price of admission. She had a hell of an ensemble to work with and they brought her choreography to life.
Additional shout outs:
1. Kudos to Christine Lindo for opening the show as the bright and energetic Hattie.
2. To Beth Roher for going toe to toe with Patrick Brown. Not an easy task but I’d say that in a fight, you could take him!
3. To Sophie Rivers and Tatum Shiff who 100% stole the show as the upstaging donkey!
4. To Brandon Chambers and Eliot Winkler, the goofy gangsters who charmed the audience with their rendition of “Brush up your Shakespeare”.
5. To Sharon Zehavi for her energetic and sensual portrayal of Lois Lane. You can misbehave with me anytime 😉
A big congrats to the cast, crew & creative team of Alexander Showcase Theatre production of “Kiss Me, Kate”. The show runs March 31-April 8, 2017 at Fairview Library Theatre, 35 Fairview Mall Drive, Toronto. Visit http://www.alexandershowcasetheatre.com to get your tickets.