Austin Shakespeare Presents Songs From KISS ME, KATE

Songs from Cole Porter's delightful musical Kiss Me, Kate, performed by some of Austin's best singers on Jan. 13, will benefit Austin Shakespeare. Jill Blackwood, Leslie Bonnell, Sharron Bower Anderson and Jacqui Cross will sing with Brian Coughlin, Colum Morgan, Kyle Stephens and Scott Shipman at the Parker Jazz Club on W 4th St. just off Congress. The evening will also feature Tapestry Artistic Director Acia Gray tap-dancing to "Too Darn Hot." Austin Chronicle Arts Editor Robert Faires will be master of ceremonies for the evening.

Kiss Me, Kate is the story of a touring company staging Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, with a divorced couple in the leads who banter with both comedy and romance through their songs. "We had so much fun last summer doing Cleo Laine's Shakespeare and All that Jazz and now we are looking forward to this amazing treasure-trove of songs from Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate," said Artistic Director Ann Ciccolella. "We have a powerful array of singing actors, plus one of the world's greatest tappers - Acia Gray."

Founded in 1984 and the only professional classical theater company in Central Texas, Austin Shakespeare presents theater of the highest quality with an emphasis on the plays of William Shakespeare, staging performances that are fresh, bold, imaginative, thought-provoking and eminently accessible -- connecting the truths of the past with the challenges and possibilities of today. In the fall and spring, Austin Shakespeare also produces plays by Shaw, Schiller, and Stoppard at The Long Center for the Performing Arts Rollins Studio Theatre. Austin Shakespeare's ongoing "Shakespeare Aloud" reading group and "Artist's Way" sessions invite new participants weekly and the company's education program 20/20 sends professional actors into the schools to encourage love of language. In 2018, Austin Shakespeare was honored with a grant from the prestigious Bloomberg Philanthropies' Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program.

Jill Blackwood frequently stars at ZACH theater, recently as Mary Poppins. For Austin Shakespeare, she portrayed a mysterious woman in Pinter's Old Times.

Leslie Bonnell is a veteran of the turn-of-the-century era Austin jazz club scene. She performed regularly at Speakeasy, Cedar Street, The Caucus Club and three times a week at the Driskill Hotel for many years.

Sharron Bower Anderson, has returned to Austin after appearing in Law & Order, L&O: SVU, L&O: Criminal Intent, and HBO Actual Jokes.

Scott Shipman is an actor/director who has been a favorite in Zilker Park summer musicals as well as playing "Polonius" in Hamlet.

Brian Coughlin captivates audiences in musicals and dramas, especially at Austin Shakespeare and Austin Playhouse.

Kyle Stephens performed in Austin Shakespeare's concert version of Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George at the Long Center.

Colum Morgan has performed for Austin Shakespeare as the Prince in Much Ado about Nothing as well as in ZACH's Singin' in the Rain.

Award-winning singer, Jacqui Cross recently sang and acted in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, as well as many productions at ZACH theater.

The evening's master of ceremonies (besides serving as arts editor for the Austin Chronicle for decades) Robert Faires was one of the founders of Austin Shakespeare. Faires performed his one-man Henry V for the company as well as acting all over Austin.

Music Director Austin Haller, who will serve as pianist for the evening, was also music director for the company's Sunday in the Park. Haller teaches at Texas State University as well as working with Conspirare and many other arts organizations.

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