2018 Stone Soup Shakespeare to Tour A Wild West TAMING OF THE SHREW

2018 Stone Soup Shakespeare to Tour A Wild West TAMING OF THE SHREW

Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew is touring throughout the Midwest this spring and into summer, bringing Shakespeare in the Park to communities for free from May to July. After a 16-day rehearsal residency in Carbondale, IL, the tour officially opened on Friday, May 4 at Scratch Brewery (Ava, IL) and will travel throughout Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin. This production sets the story of two sisters and their journey to married life in the Wild West. An ensemble off six actors dynamically tells the story, bringing to life over twenty different characters.

Company member Eric Mercado (New York City) returns to direct for the fourth time (As You Like It 2014, The Comedy of Errors 2016, Julius Caesar 2017). "I'm thrilled to be returning for another tour! I'm so excited for us as a company to engage with this 'problem play' because there is a real opportunity for us to offer a fresh perspective on Shakespeare's text. Despite its troubling moments, Taming is outrageously funny and has so many zany and wonderful moments. We are tackling the challenges of the play head on, and I think our audiences will be eager to see how we handle the play's infamous ending. No spoilers, but we definitely have some surprises planned! And who doesn't love a good square dance?"

The ensemble will engage audience with song and dance as well as Shakespeare, and occasionally invites audience to participate in it all (optional, never forced).

In keeping with the spirit of the children's story Stone Soup, from which the company takes its name, audience members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, which will be collected and donated, to local food banks in the tour region. In addition to bringing food to donate we also encourage audiences to bring their own picnics to share with their friends and family while enjoying the evening of entertainment and community.

about The Taming of the Shrew

Wealthy Baptista of Padua (Mark Maxwell) has two daughters: Katherina (Julia Stemper) and Bianca (Nicole Goeden). Demure Bianca is adored by all and has suitors Hortensio (Mel McCray) and Gremio (company) vying for her hand. Katherina, the elder sister, speaks her mind and is called a shrew because of it. Baptista refuses to let Bianca be courted by any potential grooms, much less give her away in marriage until Katherina is married first.

Lucentio (Samie Jo Johnson) and his servant Tranio (Goeden) arrive in Padua, and instantly Lucentio sees and falls in love with Bianca. He quickly disguises himself as a tutor so he can discreetly court her, and convinces his servant to also go undercover. Tranio dresses in Lucentio's clothes and pleads for Bianca's hand.

Also passing through town is Petruchio (Ross Frawley) who is on the hunt for a wife, hopefully one that comes with a healthy dowry to enhance his dwindling family funds. He runs into Hortensio and hears that Baptista is looking for a man to marry Katherina. Petruchio decides to woo the elder sister for himself.

Quickly Petruchio woos and weds and then whisks Katherina to his home where he means to "train" her to be the perfect, docile wife. Lucentio woos Bianca in secret. Hortensio and Gremio both give up their pursuit of Bianca when they see she has fallen for the disguised Lucentio. This leaves Tranio free to win Bianca's hand on Lucentio's behalf, and another wedding is scheduled. Lucentio's deceitfulness causes chaos in Padua while Katherina's willfulness almost causes her to miss her sister's wedding. In the end though, three couples (Hortensio finds a widow (Maxwell) to marry) are blissfully met on stage.

Ensemble: Ross Frawley, Nicole Goeden*, Samie Jo Johnson, Mark Maxwell, Mel McCray, and Julia Stemper*

Director: Eric Mercado*

Music Director: Molly Bunder*

Original Music: Andrew Palmer

Dramaturgy: Laila Abdo

Original Artwork: Patricia Linehan

Understudy/Fellow: Hasanah Brown

*indicates Stone Soup Shakespeare Theater Company members


Jeffrey Golde and Julia Stemper founded Stone Soup Shakespeare in 2010. Its mission is to bring free professional theater to areas without access to it. Developed during Ms. Stemper's time studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the company continues to present theater events in both the US and UK. Stone Soup's first tour was a production of Romeo and Juliet in 2011. It was seen in 3 states during a one-week tour and included professional actors from England, Scotland, New York, Chicago and the Southern Illinois region who have appeared off-Broadway, Regionally and on National and International tours. The subsequent tours have expanded the company's reach and artistic partners, increased audience size and expanded its educational programs nearly 400%.

The 2018 tour is partially supported by the Carbondale Community Arts Southern Arts Fund and by the Illinois Arts Council Agency.The Taming of the Shrew Tour Schedule


Thur, May 24, 6:00PM Winnemac Park (Chicago, IL)

Fri, May 25, 6:30PM Chapel of the Good Shepherd - lawn; In partnership with Food Finders (West Lafayette, IN)

Sat, May 26, 6:00PM Twin Lakes Park; In partnership with the Paris Public Library and the Friends of the Paris Public Library (Paris, IL)

Thur, May 31, 6:30PM Nelson Park (Decatur, IL)

Fri, June 1, 6:00PM Huntley Park; in partnership with DeKalb Public Library (DeKalb, IL)

Sat, June 2, 6:00PM Marshall Gazebo (Marshall, IL)

Sun, June 3, 6:00PM Mineral Springs Park (Pekin, IL)

Mon, June 4, 6:00PM Bauler Playlot Park (Chicago, IL)

Sat, June 9, 6:00PM Shorewood Public Library (Shorewood, WI)

Sun, June 10, 6:00PM Senior Citizens Memorial Playlot (Chicago, IL)

Sat, July 7, 6:00PM Island Park (Geneva, IL) presented by the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission

2018 Tour Cast pictured (l-to-r): Ross Frawley, Mark Maxwell, Samie Jo Johnson, Julia Stemper, Mel McCray and Nicole Goeden
(photo credit: Eric Mercado)

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