Petruchio was Elvis Presley
(breaking into “Hardheaded Woman” upon hearing about
Kate.) Kate was Leslie Gore (“You Don’t Own Me” was
her response to Petruchio and “It’s My Party and I’ll
Cry if I Want To” came out after she was stood up
at her wedding.) Other characters took on the personas
of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Groucho Marx.
All of the place names became Californian – Verona
became Pomona, and one of our favorite lines was:
“a mighty man of Lodi.” The incredibly knowledgeable
Al Stewart (of “Year of the Cat” fame) had just moved
into the neighborhood and was enlisted to help with
the musical choices.
Somehow we convinced an awesomely
hip choreographer, La Tonya Watts, to teach our cast
a huge number of hot dance routines. The show opened
with a stage full of dancing to “Whole Lotta Shakin’
Goin’ On” – a not too subtle Shakespearean reference.
We ended with another, “All Shook Up.”
The audiences were agog. Each
night we thrilled to the sight of hundreds of people
realizing they were not seeing another stuffy Shakespeare
production, but something entirely different and unexpected.
It was one of those shows where we were afraid people
would hurt themselves by laughing too hard..
Some of the critics did not
appreciate our wit. The Independent Journal review elicited four or five letters of rebuttal which
were published, along with the critic’s response,
over the next two weeks. The Taming of the Shrew was certainly one of the most outrageous Shakespeare productions we’ve ever created.