Wow! Indianapolis Civic Theatre's Kiss Me, Kate opened with a high-energy number featuring great choreography and didn't slow down until the curtain dropped.
Grace Sell and Norman Brandenstein in Civic"s "Kiss Me, Kate"
The show is set around a musical rendition of The Taming of the Shrew. The leading lady and man are divorced, fight like their respective characters and are still in love.
Fred Graham/Petruchio (performed by Norman Brandenstein) has his new lady love in the cast (Emily Rogge), who is really in love with her parallel love interest in the play (Collin Poybter). Lilli Vanessi/Katherine (Grace Sell) calls her Army-man-fiance (Adam O. Crowe) to come get her when she threatens to leave the show after being ill-used by Graham.
Throw in a mistaken identity tangent that involves gangsters, and it's rollicking fun. There isn"t an off voice in the cast, from minor players to the stars, and all are complemented with high-kicking choreography by Holly Quackenbush and eye-catching costumes by Kate Mitchell. Robert Koharchick's set swivels, slides and rotates, taking us behind the scenes, up onstage and into the dressing rooms. The catchy Cole Porter tunes are flawlessly executed and a live band conducted by the amazing Brent Marty provides a final touch of flair.
There is not a dull moment in this show. To list all of the high points I'd have to replicate the playbill. Kiss Me, Kate garnered five Tonys in the late "40s - Civic's version does it justice.
Kiss Me, Kate continues through April 6; for tickets, call 923-4597.