Pardon Me, Miss Kate, But Is That The Moon I See?

Yes, I’m in Hawaii. But we did attend theatre last night, and the urge to review is upon me, so a quick one. Last night we saw the Van Nuys High School production of “Taming of the Shew”. You all know the story I’m sure: perhaps you saw “Kiss Me Kate“, perhaps you saw Shakespeare in the Park, or you forever remember the “Atomic Shakespeare” episode of Moonlighting. Of course, Elizabethan sets being difficult for a high school to come by, Van Nuys decided to set the store in the old West and costume the actors appropriately… but not change any of Shakespeare’s dialogue.

This was a high school production. As such, the acting capabilities were not always well honed. Some of the leads acted and emoted quite well, but still spoke their lines almost too fast to be heard. The actors that stood out in my mind were Dominic Gessel as Petruchio and Sandra Duran as Katherina — they tended to speak a bit fast, but I did enjoy their acting. I also enjoyed Quest Zeidler as Gremio — one of the few that spoke sufficiently slow to be understood. Others in the cast, for whom I’m not remembering specific comments with my Hawaii-befuddled brain, were Thomas O’Hara (Lucentio), Kiran Sangnera (Bianca), Sevan Ghadimian (Baptista Minola), Jordan Strokes (Tranio), John Armstrong (Hortensio), Michael Hill (Grumio), Sameer Nayak (Biondello), Gregory Harutyunyan (Vincentio), Megan Lovato (Widow), Alex Geronilla (Tailor/Sheriff), Ashley Portillo (Haberdasher), Arman Zardaryan (Curtin), Bronte Cox (Petra), Jade Field (Natalie), Taylor Morris (Josephina), Suad Turjman (Servant), James Sakburanaphat (Bartender), Laurel Anderson (Saloon Girl #A), Denisse Rodriguez (Saloon Girl #2), Aikiro Tiogson (Bar Brawler #2), Glory Smith (Saloon Girl #3), Andrew Koenig (Bar Brawler #3/Pedant), Priscilla Legaspi (Saloon Girl #4), and Jonathan Martinez (Bar Brawler #4).

One thing I did like about the show was the musical accompaniment. This band was quite good. It consisted of Janathan Reader (Bass), Cesar Alas (Guitar), Jung Lee (Violin), Iris Mayoral (Violin), Lisa Miller (Violin), and Michael Han (Washboard).

Of course, I don’t go to these shows for the drama, but for the technical. My daughter, Erin, did the conventional lights, and I thought they were quite good with nary a moving spot and a nice use of lighting for the moon and the sun. The moving lights run by Cody Banks and Joshua Price were used mainly for strobe effects, to illuminate the band, and for the curtain calls. Sound (by Chris Chesler, Emily Tugwell, and Niko Reeves) was reasonably good the night we were there, although I understand there were some mic problems. The dramatic stage managers were Sean Present, Manmit Singh, and Sayuri Pacheco; the technical stage manager was Anthony Flores. Patty Ponce was the spot light operator.

Upcoming Theatre: One more production remains in 2009, unless I review Wednesday’s luau: December 20 brings “Mary Poppins” at the Ahmanson. We’ll be going to the movies on Christmas Day (as well as having Chinese food), and the likely movie is “Nine – The Musical”. As always, I’m looking for suggestions for good shows to see, especially if they are on Goldstar or LA Stage Tix. Turning to 2010, January 2010 will bring another episode of Meeting of Minds on 1/17 (currently unticketed), as well as “Lost in Yonkers” at Rep East (starting 1/22, currently unticketed). Another interesting show, although we would have to make a weekend of it, is Duncan Sheik’s “Whisper House at The Old Globe in San Diego, running January 13 through February 21. February 2010 will also bring “The Andrews Brothers” at Cabrillo Music Theatre on February 13. Lastly, February will also bring “Camelot” at the Pasadena Playhouse (although they haven’t sent out the dates yet), with Noel Coward’s “Fallen Angels” in March 2010.

Disclaimer: In light of the upcoming rules, you should know that nobody paid me anything to write this review. In fact, I receive no remuneration for any reviews I write.