Photo of a past performance courtesy of GO-FAME.
When you think of youth theatre, Disney princesses, Shrek adaptations and “Seussical” may very well float to the forefront of your mind. However, GO-FAME, Long Beach’s own community and youth-oriented performing arts program, wanted to give their young actors and actresses a chance to step outside their comfort zone and their audience, something to talk about.
This summer, GO-FAME will present, Kiss Me, Kate (music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Sam and Bella Spewack) of which the 1999 version has been adapted for youth performers and family audiences by the organization’s artistic director, Elaine Zofrea. According to the release, the original 1949 Broadway production won five Tony awards and the 1999 revision won 10 Tony awards and was nominated for 22.
A cast of 55 youth members, ages five to 18, who represent public and private schools throughout Long Beach and neighboring school districts including ABC Unified, Bellflower Unified, Los Alamitos Unified, and Santa Ana Unified, will take on the challenge of performing Porter’s complex music and Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.
Kiss Me, Kate is a “play within a play,” a structure Shakespeare used to heighten comedy in works such as Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“We have offered our performers interesting shows in the past including Barnum, All Shook Up and, most recently, Annie Get Your Gun,” said Kathy McGuire, GO-FAME’s managing director, in a statement. “But the kids are really excited about this show.”
She added that the young performers love the complexity of the music, the high energy of the numbers and the challenge to recite Shakespeare. The Spewack and Porter version switches back and forth between the stormy backstage romance and the theatrical on-stage antics of a divorced but still-in-love couple: Fred Graham, the “show’s” producer and leading man and Lilli Vanessi his ex-wife and star.
Musical numbers will range from the upbeat “Another Openin', Another Show” to the boisterous “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”.
Showtimes are Friday, July 17 at 7:00PM, Saturday, July 18, at 2:00PM and 7:00PM and Sunday July 19 at 12:00PM and 4:30PM. All performances will take place at the Millikan High School Auditorium, located on the southwest end of campus at the intersection of Snowden Avenue and Barbanell Street in Long Beach. Event parking is available in the lot and on the street.
Tickets are $15 for Premium Reserved seats and $12 for General Admission. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.