They did it in 1990 with Two Gentlemen Of Verona, in 1993 with Romeo And Juliet, Richard III and A Midsummer Night's Dream , and again in 1995 with Macbeth. Now Chicago's Footsteps Theatre is at it again; they're doing an all-female Shakespeare, this time the comedy Taming Of The Shrew.
Director Kate Borglum hopes the single-gender casting of this battle-of the-sexes will "be a new look at a time-honored classic -- shrewishness from the shrew's point of view!"
Sandy Borglum will play Kate, the harridan won over by the charming but stalwart Petruchio of Dawn Alden. Reached by phone, Borglum reminded Playbill On-Line that in Shakespeare's day, "all the parts were played by men because women weren't even allowed on the stage."
So why reverse the process? "Because these are beautifully written characters, with a lot going on underneath. They simply give actresses more opportunities."
Borglum was especially affected by an all-male Camille she'd seen years ago, which taught her that, "if an actor is savvy enough, the performer won't play the stereotype, just the text." Footsteps' production openedSept. 13 and will run through Nov. 3, with a special benefit performance Oct. 19 featuring Italian food, wine and song. Information and tickets : (312) 878-4840.
Meanwhile, back in New York, the Looking Glass Theatre (not to be confused with Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre) will stage an all-female Cymbeline, directed by Justine Lambert. Their single-sex production of As You Like It last year was named one of the year's best by Back Stage critic, Irene Backalenick.
For tickets to this "romance, where no one knows where to stop," call (212) 307-9467.
-- By David Lefkowitz