Skylight Music Theatre Announces Leads For KISS ME, KATE

Love is in the air this Valentine's Day, and Skylight Music Theatre is celebrating by announcing the leads for Kiss Me, Kate, running May 17 June 9, 2019. The cast will be led by R na Roman playing Kate/Lilli Vanessi and Andrew Varela as Petruchio/Fred Graham. Kiss Me, Kate sizzles with onstage romance and backstage passion. It won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical and features such unforgettable songs as So in Love, Another Op'nin', Another Show, Why Can't You Behave? and Too Darn Hot. Blending the irreverent humor of William Shakespeare and Cole Porter, this brilliant battle of the sexes follows a tempestuous couple as they struggle to present a musical version of Taming of the Shrew. Roman was last seen at Skylight as Yum-Yum in Hot Mikado and Nina in In The Heights. Varela was most recently seen at Skylight as Sweeney in Sweeney Todd and Daddy Warbucks in Annie.

Ray Jivoff will direct this beloved musical, marking his final show in his current role as Skylight Music Theatre artistic director. Kiss Me, Kate was inspired by the battling of real-life, husband-and-wife actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne during their 1935 production of Taming of the Shrew. Lunt was a Wisconsin native and the couple owned Ten Chimneys, now a southeastern Wisconsin landmark. Jivoff said that Skylight's version will provide a fresh twist on a classic. Los Angeles Times called Kiss Me, Kate, A classic to be savored enormous delight. Variety said, Vibrant, colorful exhilarating! Kiss Me, Kate First time at Skylight May 17 June 9, 2019 Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter Book by Sam and Bella Spewack Recommended for ages 11 and up

Skylight Music Theatre, and Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Biographies R na Roman (Lili Vanessi/Katherine) is a Milwaukee native and proud graduate of Milwaukee High School of the Arts. Previous roles at Skylight include: Yum-Yum in Hot Mikado, Nina in The Heights and Alexi Darling in Rent. Rana has also recently been seen as Mrs. Crachit in A Christmas Carol, in the ensemble in In The Heights and as Mrs. Webb in Our Town at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre; as well as Ella in Life Sucks and Jania in Exit Strategy at Forward Theater of Madison. Andrew Varela (Fred Graham/Petruchio) Broadway and National Tours: Javert in the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Miserables; The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera; Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Also Sunday in the Park with George; Cats: Little Women: The Musical; and South Pacific with Alec Baldwin and Reba McIntyre at Carnegie Hall. He was awarded the 2018 Footlights Award for Outstanding Performance in a Musical for his performance of Sweeney Todd at Skylight. Also at Skylight: Daddy Warbucks in Annie; The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance; The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz; and Javert in Les Miserables. Other Milwaukee credits: Guys and Dolls at The Milwaukee Rep; James and the Giant Peach at First Stage; El Gallo in The Fantasticks at In Tandem Theater. Frequent guest host of The Morning Blend on WTMJ4.

Ray Jivoff (Stage Director) was named Artistic Director in 2017 and has been working at Skylight since 1990. In 1999, he joined Skylight staff as Education Director and started Enlighten, Skylight's education program, which includes the Partner School Program, which offers music theatre education to students in eight MPS schools; two touring shows The Standard Songbook and KidsWrites and The High School Musical Celebration. As an actor, he has appeared in Skylight's La Cage Aux Folles, Animal Crackers, Adding Machine, Guys and Dolls, The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and The Producers. He directed Pippin, Urinetown, Hair, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and Sing Me a Story at Skylight; The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, Revised and The Sum of Us at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre; West Side Story at UW-Milwaukee and Anything Goes, Little Shop of Horrors and Into the Woods at Marquette University.

Performance Information Performances of Kiss Me Kate run May 17- June 9, 2019 in the Cabot Theatre, Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee. Tickets & Box Office Tickets are $30 - $75 (plus tax and fees) and can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, by calling (414) 291-7800, or visiting www.skylightmusictheatre.org Box Office hours are Monday Saturday, noon - 6 p.m. The Box Office window is open two hours prior to each performance. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more by calling (414) 299-4964 or email morganh@skylightmusictheatre.org.

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