Tonawanda News

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November 17, 2013

Mount St. Mary stages 'Kiss Me, Kate'

Mount St. Mary Academy presents annual fall musical, Shakespeare-inspired 'Kiss Me, Kate'

Tonawanda News — To start with, there’s Kate.

Who is also Lilli. Who used to be married to Fred. Who is also Petruchio. Who is friends with Lucentio. Who is really Bill. Who is in love with Lois. Who’s also Bianca.

And it just gets more tangled up from there.

Mount St. Mary Academy in the Town of Tonawanda will bring this ... slightly complicated ... story to the stage starting Friday with its fall musical, “Kiss Me, Kate.” The show, which has music and lyrics by Cole Porter and is based in part on William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” tells the tale of a theater troupe performing Shakespeare’s play amidst drama of its own.

Allie Fairbanks, a junior at MSM who plays the dual characters of Lilli (the actress) and Kate (the Shakespearian “shrew”), said it’s been “energizing” to take on the play-within-a-play challenge of the role. As part of playing Lilli playing Kate, she’s had to throw things on stage and yell at her friends and otherwise be, well, shrewish.

“You can see the similarities between Kate and Lilli,” she said. “I like to think I’m not a mean person, and Kate is ... well, she’s a shrew. And Lilli is a little bit arrogant. And I like to think I’m not like that. It’s also fun to play someone I’m not.” 

The students of Mount St. Mary’s are joined on stage by students from Canisius, West Seneca, Williamsville South and Kenmore West high schools and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute to fill the male roles. 

Ben Harvey, a senior at Kenmore West High School, plays show director/producer Fred Graham and his “The Taming of the Shrew” counterpart Petruchio. Like Fairbanks, he said it’s been a challenge alternating between the different characters, in keeping them distinct while still very related in spirit. 

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