Honorary Producers Geoff & Valerie Fearns, with actors Elijah Alexander and Susannah Rogers at the First Night of SHREW!
From the opening scene, SHREW! captivated First Night audiences and never let up, delivering two hours of delight, clever wordplay, beautiful Renaissance costumes, joyful dancing and much more.
Along with generous laughter, the First Night audience showed their appreciation of celebrated playwright Amy Freed’s astute, female-driven twist on The Taming of the Shrew with warm applause and a standing ovation. Theatregoers greatly enjoyed the witty repartee and the winning performances of the talented cast under the direction and choreography of Art Manke.
Led by Elijah Alexander as Petruchio and Susannah Rogers as The Writer/Katherine Minola, the romantic comedy’s entire ensemble delivered stellar performances while transporting audiences to London and Italy of the 1590s. The cast also includes Stephen Caffrey, Peter Frechette, Jeremy Peter Johnson, Sierra Jolene, Martin Kildare, Colette Kilroy, Mike McShane, Matt Orduña, Bhama Roget, Brett Ryback and Danny Scheie.
First Night attendees and Honorary Producers Tim and Marianne Kay found SHREW! to be highly entertaining. “We had a lot of fun at this play and especially enjoyed Kate’s final speech. I think Petruchio and Katherine are off to a great start in their marriage!” exclaimed Tim.
Honorary Producers Geoff and Valerie Fearns were also in attendance and greatly enjoyed the play. "Amy Freed was faithful to the Shakespeare canon in that she preserved the plot and the rhythms of speech while updating it enough to make it completely accessible to a modern-day audience--it was understandable, hilariously funny and really resonated with the ethos of our time," said Geoff.
Guests who attended the cast party, which was fully sponsored by the Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel, were welcomed into an inviting space with a rustic Italian Renaissance theme. Red, green and gold uplights helped to create a cozy ambiance throughout the venue.
Paying tribute to the magnificent Italian region, the celebratory fete featured a menu inspired by Italian cuisine, including butler-passed hors d’oeuvres such as goat cheese and mushroom mini handmade pizzas, tomato and basil bruschetta on toasted baguettes with microgreens and crisp, pancetta-wrapped shrimp with tomato pesto dressing—all scrumptious appetizers that were impossible to resist!
Another crowd favorite was the Zuppa Tuscan Soup Station, which offered savory options such as spicy sausage and bacon with russet potatoes and kale with toasted crostini. Other menu highlights included a delicious assortment of Paninis, as well as an Antipasto Station with Italian cheese and charcuterie, figs, peppers and breadsticks.
For a sweet finish to the evening, partygoers indulged in a decadent dessert station that included treats such as mini chocolate cannoli, mini Limoncello mousse cups, mini Tiramisu bites and frozen Nutella pineapple with chopped hazelnuts.
The evening’s signature cocktail was the “Taming of the Shrew Driver,” which was comprised of vodka, fresh orange juice and pink grapefruit liqueur—a fitting libation to honor Freed’s humorous spin on a classic.
First Night guests were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the entire cast, director Art Manke and playwright Amy Freed in the Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar’s elegant setting. All the while, lively conversation and laughter continued to swirl around SHREW!’s dazzling debut. All in attendance at SHREW’s First Night agreed—it was a smashing success for this smart and wickedly funny love story!
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