Behind the scenes of the ADC Lent term musical, Kiss Me, Kate!
A feel-good musical that makes the perfect end-of-term treat
Cambridge is always teeming with people on Saturday mornings, and the ADC auditorium is no exception. I went behind the scenes of the ADC’s Lent term musical, where the cast and crew were hard at work rehearsing lines, choreographing dance routines, and designing the lighting for their production of Kiss Me, Kate!
This was the cast’s first rehearsal on the real ADC stage. As I watch them run through the opening scene, I can’t help but be impressed at how polished the performance is, even though there’s still a week and a half until opening night.
“Doing a show like this could really go one of two ways,” says lead actress April Perrott. Sometimes large productions like an ADC musical can become stressful and overwhelming for everyone involved. But there is a sense of quiet confidence at this rehearsal that the show will be a success. “I feel all at ease with this cast,” April tells me, “I’ve never enjoyed rehearsals so much!”
April portrays the main character Lilli, who she describes as “a soprano’s dream role.” The producer Katy Lawrence was likewise drawn to this production because of the music. Katy says, “there are so many different songs in different styles, and there’s something there for everyone.”
This Golden Age musical is set in 1948 Baltimore. As the production for a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is underway, the play’s cast find that their own lives start to parallel the plot of the play, as they become entangled in a mess of romantic relationships and a conflict with gangsters.
The biggest challenge with performing this play is dealing with the misogynist aspects of the show’s history. The Taming of the Shrew is far from feminist, and the original production of this musical in the 1940s reinforced some of the misogynistic stereotypes from its source material. But the directors and cast of this ADC show have adapted the play for a modern audience. April explains that “Gina and Jonathan’s (the directors’) vision is to empower the female characters.” She promises a surprise twist that will “flip the ending on its head” and subvert some of Shakespeare’s sexism.
On the stage behind us, the ensemble is practicing a toe-tapping jazz number that gives me flashbacks to my last Dance Moms binge. As well as being rich in comedy and drama, this musical should also be a visual spectacle. Choreographers Gina Stock, Laura Patomova, and Hannah Filer have been perfecting the numerous dance sequences, one of which is over twelve minutes long. The cast and crew are full of seasoned ADC performers; Katy says, “what makes this show special is that it will be many people’s last performance at Cambridge. There’s a real sense of going out with a bang.”
Kiss Me, Kate! will be showing at the ADC from 15th to 25th March, and would make for an uplifting end-of-term treat.
Tickets are available here: https://www.adctheatre.com/whats-on/musical/kiss-me-kate/