Ragusa, Watkins, Alex and McGowan Star in Paper Mill's Kate Beginning April 16

News   Ragusa, Watkins, Alex and McGowan Star in Paper Mill's Kate Beginning April 16 The Paper Mill Playhouse's production of the classic Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate begins previews at the New Jersey theatre April 16.
Michele Ragusa
Michele Ragusa

Directed by James Brennan with choreography by Patti Colombo, the production will officially open April 20 and play a limited run through May 18.

Heading the cast are Timothy J. Alex (Bill/Lucentio), Mike McGowan (Fred/Petruchio), Michele Ragusa (Lilli/Kate) and Amanda Watkins (Lois/Bianca). The company also features Elliott Bradley, Stephen Carrasco (Hortensio), Desiree Davar, Eugene Fleming (Paul), Herb Foster (Harry/Trevor), Katie Hagen, Wes Hart (Gremio), Cameron Henderson, Tiffany Howard, Danielle Jordan, Liz Kimball, Gary Lynch, Kate Marilley, Rod Roberts, William Ryall (Second Man), Stacey Sargeant (Hattie), Eric Shorey, Bob Stoeckle (General Harrison Howell), Elisa Van Duyne, Kyle Vaughn, Gordon Joesph Weiss (First Man) and Ryan Worsing.

Tom Helm serves as musical director for the production.

Kiss Me, Kate, according to the Paper Mill, is described as such: "This charming story follows two musical theatre actors — once married, now divorced — as they star together in a Broadway-bound musical version of Shakespeare's play. Soon, tensions mount and tempers flare, until it seems no amount of acting can save this show. But when two gangsters arrive to settle an old score, success becomes a matter of survival!"

The design team comprises James Fouchard (scenic design), Gail Baldoni (costume design), F. Mitchell Dana (lighting design), Randy Hansen (sound design), and Mark Adam Rampmeyer (hair and make-up design). Richard Rauscher is the production stage manager. Loosely based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate originally opened at Broadway's New Century Theatre on Dec. 30, 1948. Featuring a score by Cole Porter and a book by Samuel and Bella Spewack, Kate ran 1,077 performances. The original cast included Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang. The classic Porter score includes such tunes as "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "Too Darn Hot," "Wunderbar," "So in Love," "Always True to You in My Fashion," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," "Why Can't You Behave?," "We Open in Venice," "Tom, Dick or Harry," "I Hate Men" and "Where Is the Life that Late I Led?"

The Paper Mill Playhouse is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. For more information or to purchase tickets call (973) 376-4343 or visit www.papermill.org.

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