The El Camino drama team put together their spring musical this year and it’s very unique and well done. The play is based on and named after the 1953 movie ¨Kiss Me Kate¨ which is based on Shakespeare’s ¨The Taming of the Shrew¨. The musical is an accurate movie remake, but pretty far from the original Shakespeare play if that’s what you were looking for.
The Story of the play follows a group of actors performing “The Taming of the Shrew” and their adventures on and off stage involving comedy, romance, Italy, gangsters, and more. The two main characters, Fred and Lilli, are divorced and playing the two leads in the play. They have similar problems behind the scenes as their characters in the play, Petruchio and Kate. The second main couple in the play, Bill and Lois, are younger folks and have younger folks problems. Many other characters make up the cast with a few popping in and out throughout the play. It’s a funny, wacky adventure that translated pretty well to the stage.
The drama team did a pretty good job of recreating the movie while making a few changes that make the musical feel different while still providing a comparable experience to an old movie. They pretty much copied all the lines and songs from the original script word for word, except for the lines from scenes removed altogether. They mostly chose the right scenes to remove (for length I assume), but I felt like someone who hadn’t seen the movie would be easily confused at the beginning of the play when characters are darting around, talking about their past, then jump into a theatre set all of a sudden. I feel like the setting should’ve been better established before the action started, but it’s not hard to figure it out a little later. Another change I like is what they did to one of the main characters, Kate. Lilli, when in Kate mode, was a defiant, rude, and stubborn character in the original movie. In this version, Kate was a total Nutjob that I was afraid could jump offstage at any given moment and run through the crowd screaming. That was probably my favorite change, and an excellently convincing actress really brought the character to life.
Speaking of actors, the cast was great. All the characters in the foreground told the story in a very smooth fashion, but I felt like the background actors were a little out of character. Even a few actors in the foreground seemed a little bored while singing or delivering a short line. Fortunately, a good percentage of the cast were even better singers than they were actors, which gave the original movies’ soundtrack a fresh new vibe. The music, by the way, was played live by a band and sounded marvelous. The music was probably the best part of the play.
The drama team did a great job overall, and should improve upon this formula in their future productions. It was a very nice play.