Telluride Theatre’s 2017 Shakespeare In The Park: “The Taming Of The Shrew”

Telluride Theatre presents “The Taming of the Shrew,” the 2017 Shakespeare in the Park production. The play runs, rain or shine, from Saturday, July 15 – Saturday, July 22. Shows are 8 p.m. nightly – except Sunday, July 16, which is a 2 p.m. matinee. There is no show on Wednesday, July 19. The productions is suitable for young people 12+. Please dress warmly. Tickets are $20 for adults; $12 for children and available here or by calling 970-708-7629.

This summer’s Shakespeare in the Park production of “The Taming of the Shrew” on the Main Stage in Telluride’s Town Park introduces audiences to two of Shakespeare’s most famously fraught lovers: Katherina (Kate) and Petruchio, played respectively by Telluride Theatre’s own Cat Lee Covert and Michael Raver of New York.

Penned at the height of his powers as a playwright and London entertainer, Shakespeare’s” The Taming of the Shrew” is full of delicious deception, madcap antics, and wordplay.

“Shrew” is also ultimately about one of the most tumultuous and deeply true relationships between any two characters in any of the Bard’s trove of 38 plays.

Director Colin Sullivan notes  the play is really as wild, wacky, and wonderful as it seems:

“’Taming of the Shrew’ is a difficult play with a difficult premise. The title let’s you know right up front that Kate and Petruchio’s relationship isn’t meant to be even –  and their courting, even less so. But their relationship is, in most ways, very modern: beautiful and complicated, they exhaust each other, speak sometimes from their hearts and sometimes from their egos, but ultimately protect one another. People often see ’Shrew’ as an issue-driven play, but I think that’s selling the power and nuance of its lead characters short, especially Kate. This is Shakespeare on fire from the first scene. We need to let it burn.”

While Kate and Petruchio’s courtship provides the solid heart of “The Taming of the Shrew,” there is a whirlwind revolving around the leads. In its orginal form, “Shrew” was a play within a play, told by a local drunk named Christopher Sly. There are young lovers playing in secret, quarreling suitors, disguised teachers, a loving father just trying to do the best for his daughters, and a myriad of servants behind the scenes, all pulling the strings and trying not to get into hot water.

Telluride Theatre’s version is set in modern-day Colorado, with another compelling set design by the company’s technical director/designer Erika Bush; costumes by Melissa Trn (an LA designer); and lights by Tommy Wince.

Telluride Theatre’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” unlike its name, promises to be one of the wildest adaptions of Shakespeare to hit the stage in quite some time. In other words, Colin Sullivan’s production is not tame at all.

Cast list:

PETRUCHIO – Michael Raver*
KATHERINA – Cat Lee Covert
BIANCA – Chambri Swartz
BAPTISTA MINOLA – Henry Mitchell
LUCENTIO – Simon Perkovich
TRANIO – Caroline Grace Moore
GREMIO – Dave MacMillan
HORTENSIO – Peter Lundeen
GRUMIO – Sue Knechtel
BIONDELLO – Lexi Torelli
VINCENTIO – Buff Hooper
CHRISTOPHER SLY – Buff Hooper
BIBLE SALESMAN – Evan MacMillan
PARK RANGER ONE – Lexi Torelli
PARK RANGER TWO – Evan MacMillan
PLAYER ONE – Arabella Galbo
PLAYER TWO – Jaxon Mosher
THE WIDOW –  Sue Knechtel
CURTIS – Arabella Galbo
TAILOR – Jaxon Mosher
PETRUCHIO’S HOUSE SERVANTS – Various

* Appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association

Production staff:

Directed by Colin Sullivan
Technical Direction and Set Design by Erika Bush
Costume Design by Melissa Trn
Lighting Design by Tommy Wince
Stage Management by Ursula Ostrander
Makeup Design by Colleen Thompson
Set Carpentry by Erika Bush & Buff Hooper
Set Painting by Erika Bush

History: “The Taming of the Shrew”:

Between the years of 1590 and 1592, records appeared of two plays with nearly identical titles and plots: “The Taming of a Shrew” and “The Taming of the Shrew,” the latter being the most widely attributed to Shakespeare and containing the characters and language we are still familiar with today.

Various theories about the genesis of these two similar plays range from proposing that “A Shrew” was written by a different author and adapted as “The Shrew” by Shakespeare to suggesting that “A Shrew” was a reported text (a text compiled from the recollection of the actors) or simply an earlier draft of “The Shrew.” It was not until the printing of the First Folio (a posthumous collection of Shakespeare’s works compiled in a single printed volume in 1623) that the text appeared as we recognize it today.

The 1590-92 time frame means “Shrew” would have been written shortly after Shakespeare moved to London, around the same time he was writing the Henry plays and “Titus Andronicus.” The story of the two contrasting pairs of lovers (Lucentio and Bianca and Petruchio and Kate) appears to be derived from the Italian play, ” I Supposti,” while the primary plot of the taming between Kate and Petruchio was grounded in various traditionl folk tales and ballads about men establishing dominance over their wives through beating. However, Shakespeare’s Petruchio does not resort to physical violence, opting instead for a series of mind games.

The story of Kate and Petruchio’s battle of wits and will has endured for better or worse, even serving as the basis for the 1948 Tony Award-winning Cole Porter musical “Kiss Me Kate,” as well as many modern adaptations such as Phyllida Lloyd’s all female version for NYC’s Public Theater in 2016.

There’s also multiple famous film versions of “Shrew,” including Franco Zeferrelli’s famous adaptation starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, or the more current “10 Things I Hate About You.”

Telluride Theatre: Mission

Telluride Theatre is committed to advancing the performing arts in the Telluride region through innovative productions, education programs, and community involvement. The company creates theatre that lives in moments of truthful human connection, promotes joyful celebration, and is an open dialogue, accessible to all audiences.

Director Bio:

COLIN SULLIVAN (Director) is Executive Director and ensemble actor in Telluride Theatre. He holds a B.A. in theatre arts from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s in Teaching from Fordham University.

Colin trained as a performer at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville’s professional apprenticeship program, the Michael Chekhov Institute, as well as with Double Edge Theatre and the SITI Company.

In addition to his Executive Director role, Colin is an instructor in the company’s unique ACTions education programs.

He has appeared in Telluride Theatre productions since 2008.

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