Allison Janney and Jay O. Sanders begin sparring as Kate and Petruchio June 17 in the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater's music infused production of The Taming of the Shrew, at Central Park's Delacorte Theater.
The Mel Shapiro-directed staging, which is partly sung-through to original music by Mark Bennett, opens July 1 and continues to July 11. The production is set in a Renaissance garden, with live flowers and trees. Karl Eigsti is the scenic designer.
Lending comic support are Mario Cantone (Love! Valour! Compassion!) as Grumio and Max Wright (Lincoln Center's Ivanov and Twelfth Night) as Christopher Sly. Erika Alexander (TV's "Living Single") will play Bianca.
Also in the cast are Regina Bellantese, Reg E. Cathey, Magaly Colimon, Danyon Davis, Scott Denny, Ramon De Ocampo, MacIntyre Dixon, Dion Flynn, Stephen Mo Hanan, Peter Jacobson, Tom Mardirosian, Don Mayo, Olga Merediz, Jesse Pennington, Rio Puertollano, Evan Robertson and Chad Smith. Marina Draghici is the costume designer and Brian MacDevitt is lighting designer.
Shrew's Allison Janney is known for her performances in Broadway's Present Laughter and A View From the Bridge, as well as Off-Broadway's Blue Window. Sanders appeared in King John with the NYSF at the Delacorte and in National Actors Theatre's St. Joan. The Shakespeare comedy tells of Petruchio, a strutting suitor to the man- hating Katharine. The timeless story is the basis of the 1948 Cole Porter musical, Kiss Me, Kate.
The Public Theater mounted the play at the Delacorte in 1990, in a production which starred Morgan Freeman and Tracey Ullman.
Tickets for Taming of the Shrew are free (two tickets per person) and can be picked up on performance days beginning at 1 PM, for that evening's show, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The closest entrances to the Delacorte are at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. Tickets are also distributed 1-3 PM at the Public's flagship location, 425 Lafayette St., near Astor Place.
For all-borough ticket distribution locations and times, call (212) 539 8655.
Mark Brokaw directs Moliere's classic comedy, Tartuffe, the second NYSF/Public Theater production at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, Aug. 10-Sept. 5.
-- By Kenneth Jones