Showing posts sorted by relevance for query kiss me kate. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query kiss me kate. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 24 November 2018

In Conversation With... Rebecca Lock | Kiss Me Kate | Interview

Fresh from starring as Ms Fleming in Heathers, Rebecca Lock is tackling the tough but exciting role of Lilli in the Sheffield Crucible's production of Kiss Me, Kate. Rebecca chatted to us all about the show, how Lilli is an ever relevant character and what people can expect from this new production...

Can you tell us a little about Kiss Me, Kate and how your character, Lilli, fits in? 
Kiss Me, Kate is a Cole Porter musical about the inner workings of a travelling touring acting company and, in particular, about the tempestuous relationship between the two leading actors – Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi – who are a newly divorced couple coming together for the first time in year to play opposite each other in The Taming of the Shrew. It’s a brilliant premise and you are taken on a journey of love, romance, mistaken identity and intrigue throughout. It’s a real whirlwind with tremendous highs and lows, beautiful music, incredibly dance routines, farce and a total transportation to the 1940’s world of glamour and Hollywood. It’s an absolute gift to any actor and I’m relishing every second of playing Lilli! 

Lilli is a very vocally taxing role, how do you go about tackling her and performing in a way to maintain your voice and vocal health?
The somersault vocals as Lilli/Kate are taxing but it’s something I’ve always loved in all the roles I’ve played in my career; a real diversity of style – one second a lilting soprano for Wunderbar, and then belting my head off in I Hate Men, then finishing Act One with a coloratura that would fit nicely at the ENO, it’s brilliant! Of course, I have to look after myself. I’m drinking plenty of water, sleeping plenty and doing all the steaming – I don’t think I’m going to be able to partake in the usual jollities this Christmas! Although, I’ll maybe manage to sneak in a medicinal glass of port... or two. 

What’s your favourite moment in Kiss Me, Kate
Oh, there are so many! At the moment i’m really loving all the fighting we’re [Edward Baker Duly who plays Fred/Petruchio] getting to do as our play-within-a-play characters, it’s awesome. No holds barred. 

In the era of #MeToo, Lilli seems like an extremely relevant character; is this something which drew you to the role? 
I feel very honoured to have been trusted with a role like Lilli in today’s world. We do tackle some themes in the show of domestic abuse; there’s a famous scene towards the end of Act One where Fred [on stage as Petruchio] spanks Lilli [as Kate] which, in past productions, has been played for laughs with the exposing of frilly bloomers but actually, it isn’t at all hilarious that this man is hitting a woman. In our production, the genius that is Paul Foster [Director] has brought the situation right up to 2018 and tackles the scene in a new and very real way. Lilli definitely gives as much as she gets during the fight and it’ll be interesting to see how the audience react to this new and raw way of playing it – it’s an important story to tell. 

What can audiences expect from this production of Kiss Me, Kate and why should they come to see it?
This production of Kiss Me, Kate is going to be a beautifully new, fresh and extremely funny show for a 2018 audience. I’m so excited for people to see it. The combination of Matt Flint’s breathtaking choreography and getting to work under the direction of Paul Foster is making this one of those really special productions that I am sure I will look back on and remember as a firm favourite. 

What is your pre-show warm up like? 
My pre-show routine is rather mundane: I eat about 4.30pm so I’m not digesting food during the show and burping in Edward [Baker Duly]’s face, then I get make-up ready for our company physical and vocal warm ups, then back to the dressing room to wig up and get dressed. I like to be ready to go by the five minute call so I’m not panicking and running late. I tend to always have a Jakemans’ throat sweet before beginners – not for medicinal purposes, just because it’s nice and comforting – and then, of course, a last minute wee. The show is so busy that I’m definitely not going to have a wee break until the interval! 

Who would your dream duet partner be? 
Hmm, good question! There are so many wonderful singers who would be so dreamy to duet with, but I’d have to say Audra McDonald. I absolutely love her rich, full and velvety voice and think we’d just have a brilliant time. 

What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring performers in terms of finding and maintaining your voice? 
To all aspiring new performers who are finding and maintaining their true voice, I would say to be yourselves. Be inspired by other singers but don’t imitate. Your individuality and unique quality is something you should be proud of – there’s only one you, embrace it! Oh, and drink plenty of water, get lots of sleep and avoid noisy places – talking loudly can be a killer when it comes to vocal health. 

Kiss Me, Kate is at the Crucible Theatre from Friday 7 December – Saturday 12 January

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Kiss Me, Kate, London Coliseum | Review

Kiss Me, Kate
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Wednesday 20th June 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Kiss Me Kate is Cole Porter's 1949 musical play in two acts which interweaves a production of The Taming of the Shrew with a number of dramatic backstage battles. After touring for a while, Opera North's production has slipped into the London Coliseum for a short run which showcases it's glorious score and stellar cast.

The book is certainly at the core of this show. We see the actors putting on a revised musical version of the Taming of the Shrew in addition to focussing on the battle between actors and ex-partners, Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi who can't seem to budge one another. At times, especially in Act 2, the show does drag; at three hours long you certainly need to grab a coffee beforehand but there's also enough variation to keep you somewhat on your toes.

The plot is helped along by the smooth set transitions that come from Colin Richmond's minimalistic backdrop featuring painted drops and revolving slides. These cleverly transport us from on stage, to backstage, but the whole production does feel a bit small for the vast space of the Coliseum. Much of the front stage is not used which makes the show feel distanced and somewhat unwelcoming as things get lost whilst being performed at the rear of the stage. Richmond's costumes are beautiful and bring an almost modern twist to the show whilst maintaining it's traditional  Shakespearean roots.

The classic orchestrations are played in all their original glory which is truly magnificent to hear. From the jazzy Too Darn Hot to Olde English melodies, the orchestra of Opera North, led by David Greed do an outstanding job of making everything buoyant and virtuosic.

You couldn't ask for a better cast to perform this monstrous show; drawn from both the opera world and the musical theatre world, they combine to create some magical moments. Baritone Quirijn De Lang and soprano Stephanie Corley are musically outstanding as Fred and Lilli. Two fiery characters, they give boisterous performances which bite and claw, with a loving undertone throughout. Corley's I Hate Men is a true powerhouse moment.

Zoƫ Rainey sings as if her life depends on it and completely steals the show in act two with her vast rendition of Always True To You In My Fashion. The multiple repetitions in this song and others do become somewhat draining but Rainey's performance is worth the ticket price alone as she performs with energy and vocal brilliance.

Act two provides spellbinding moment after spellbinding moment with Alan Burkitt's tap number completely dancing everyone off the stage. He gives a magnetic, faultless performance which could be watched over and over.

A the two gunmen, John Savournin and Joseph Shovelton steal the scenes they're a part of and give humourous performances throughout.

The ensemble do a wonderful job of bulking out the show but at times do feel underdeveloped, especially in terms of choreography. There could have been some really powerful group choreographic moments but unfortunately these were left out.

Kiss Me Kate has comedy, innuendos, a beautiful score and a stellar cast. It's a long show that could definitely be chopped here and there but there's no denying that it's a marvellous piece of theatre. Despite some issues, the gems of performances that are spotted around do make it a Wunderbar production.

Kiss Me Kate runs until June 30th at the London Coliseum

For tickets and information about the show, visit

photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

In Conversation With... Alexandra Silber | After Anatevka | Interview

If you've been on the tube in the last few months I'm sure you'll have spotted the marvellous Alexandra Silber's face plastered over the walls for Today Tix. Whilst Al's face is up there for her performances both on the West End and Broadway, she is also a beautifully eloquent lady and recently published her debut novel, After Anatevka, which tells the story of Hodel after Fiddler on the Roof

Alexandra was lovely enough to talk to Rewrite This Story about her writing process, After Anatevka, her transition from West End to Broadway and so much more. Make sure you read until the end to find out how you can win a copy of After Anatevka!

For anyone that doesn’t know, can you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?

I went to drama school in Glasgow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before living in London and working the West End for several years. 

While I was in my final year at RCS, I was cast as Laura Fairlie in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman in White opposite Ruthie Henshall, Anthony Andrews and Damian Humbley

Among many other things, I have also played Julie Jordan in Carousel in the West End, made my Broadway debut opposite Tyne Daly in Terrence McNally’s Master Class, and have sung at Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, was nominated for a Grammy for singing Maria in a the first ever symphonic recording of West Side Story with the San Francisco Symphony, and of course, at Royal Albert Hall with the John Wilson Orchestra for the BBC Proms as the titular character in their production of Kiss Me Kate

Above all, I have been fortunate enough to play two of Tevye’s daughters, one on each side of the Atlantic— the first was in the West End, portraying After Anatevka’s protagonist Hodel (the second-eldest daughter of Shalom Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman who is the star of the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof) at the Sheffield Crucible and its West End transfer, and last year, played Tzeitl, Tevye’s eldest daughter on Broadway in the most recent Broadway revival. 

Portraying both characters for such lengths of time, and with such incomparable creative teams and casts, informed, inspired and shaped the writing of After Anatevka: it truly was a journey from stage to page. 

Have you always aspired to be a performer or did you have a different dream when you were younger?

I always knew I wanted to be a professional creative— I’m not certain that acting and singing professionally was the epitome of my dream. As a child and teenager I loved the theatre, felt at home and accepted amongst its “creatures” and had an outlet to explore new worlds, research new ways of life, get inside different people’s minds and heart, and to express so many of my deepest emotions. 

I’ve been thinking very deeply about “dreams coming true” recently— possibly because so many people are asking me about it. “Is publishing your novel a dream come true” they will ask, and I don’t entirely know how to answer that. Because of course it is, I have dreamed of sharing my stories with the wider world, to hold a book-shaped book, with actual binding and  I have written in my hands

The voices on Broadway cast recordings were not only my inspirations, but my companions, my teachers; I know many people for whom that is a familiar history. But I felt very much the same about characters in books. I was just as enamored with E.M Forster’s Margaret Schlegel as I was with the book and score of South Pacific. 

Other than writing, have you got any hidden passions you’d like to pursue?

I love the accordion and have taken several lessons, and I passionately want to visit Antarctica. 

What drew you to the roles of Hodel and then Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof— are the three of you alike in any ways?

There are too many to mention. I honestly feel this question is best answered within the pages of After Anatevka— and not only the similarities, but the differences, and the growth every human being hopefully acquires as they age and experience life. I had the uncanny joy of being able to understand each woman more deeply as I embodied the other— much like members of the same family come to more deeply understand their siblings as they all become adults. 

One of my most treasured passages from After Anatevka is from the penultimate chapter, an epistolary exchange from Tzeitel to Hodel:

Home, Hodelleh. That place beyond the place where we rest our heads every night. Where our centerpieces, our sewing, our carefully prepared meals, simply do not matter. Where our petty little differences and competitions with one another do not matter anymore.

And I thought of you.

It is odd, Hodelleh. Because I do not know if you shall ever read this, I feel compelled to tell you more than ever. Home—where love shall reign supreme. The kind of home you always held within your heart, my dear sister, the kind no meaningless skill of mine could ever fully capture. How I love you, Hodel. It aches within me that I failed to show you in so many ways. That I provided you with every comfort but the comfort of my heart.

Yet I know that we shall both, as we always did, return to each other. For the love beneath our struggle is so strong. Perhaps in time, the Lord shall reveal to us why it is so difficult.

My goodness, to embody two such women. What a privilege.  

Did you feel any extra responsibility or pressure playing one of the few Jewish female characters in musical theatre?

I believe that if you portray any character or story with honesty and vulnerability, the work will resonate. Our only responsibility as artists is to tell the truth. 

After Anatevka tells the story of Hodel after Fiddler. When you research for a role do you think about what happens to the character after the show ends as well as their backstory or was Hodel an exception?

Hodel was absolutely an exception. 

The Broadway community and wider world may know me as the most-recent Tzeitel,  from the 2016 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, but from October 2006 to February 2008, I played Tevye's second-eldest daughter, Hodel, in the last West End revival in London. That experience was, without exception, the most immersive and deeply felt of my artistic life thus far. It was like a “first love—” the kind one never forgets, and imprints itself upon you more deeply than any to follow it. Hodel’s strength and sense of purpose, your complex feminine spirit, her wit and determination, her devotion and loving heart. She offered me a chance to find all of these things within myself, and to grow with them. 

While all characters tend to endear themselves to you, Hodel haunted me— remained in my cells like an un-rinseable, inextinguishable fuel. Actors often embody traits of the characters they take on, but few characters weave in and out of the soul until you can scarcely detect the line between the emotional truths of one and the other. 

If you could write a continuation of any other musical theatre character, who would you choose and why?

Tzeitel. I think we can all agree that I’m now intensely involved in this family’s “future story—” I do feel compelled to finish what I’ve started. Additionally, I don’t think I’ve heard the last of Hodel. We leave her at quite a cliffhanger in After Anatevka

You’ve made the transition from West End to Broadway and from acting to writing so well. What would your advice be to people hoping to do similar?

Being a “multi-hyphenate” is simultaneously straightforward, and tremendously complex. 

To “do” something other than what is listed on, say, your tax return, there is very little required other than to just DO it. You want to write? Don’t wait for a permission slip from the Gods of Writing; just write. An essay. A blogpost. A Tweet. It does’t matter what you create as long as you actually create it, and create it from a place of authenticity. 

What’s your writing setup like? Do you have a certain playlist you listen to or a drink you always have?

Yes. I have a beautiful vintage pull-down writing desk! It has been handed down from my mother— she found it on the street when she was in college. When she discovered it, it was covered in layers of paint that she subsequently stripped away, to reveal a beautiful raw wood. The desk has been in my home since childhood, and the handle where you “pull-down” is the face of a lion, that I always thought was the face of Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia

I write for about one hour every day, with a pot of tea poured from my perfect little tea pot (gifted to me by actress Lara Pulver), under the supervision of my cat, Tatiana. 

Whats a fun fact people might not know about you?

I’m an introvert. In fact, according to the Myers Briggs personality test I’m an INFJ (which is a very rare personality type, about 2% of the world’s population). Many people challenge me on this, based on their mis-impressions of not only me, but introverts in general. Introverts are not necessarily aloof, shy, people-hating trolls, we simply recharge our personal batteries in solitude. Despite my highly developed extrovert behavior, I still require (and enjoy!) lots of time alone to process life. 

Also, I have a (fabulous, diva, rescued) cat named Tatiana Angela Lansbury Romanov. She is a star (cue: Mama Rose music)!! She has her own Instagram page, which is: photographs of “Tati” (as I call her) with theatrical captions called @ifeelkitty.…..You’re welcome. 

What’s your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?

For anyone, really: success is not about what you do, it is about how you feel about what you do. 

A massive thank you to Al for taking the time to do this interview. Read my review of After Anatevka here.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor