Davis Gaines and Victoria Strong Star in Cabrillo Music Theatre's KISS ME, KATE, Beg. Tonight

By: Oct. 18, 2013
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CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE welcomes Davis Gaines (Southern California's Longest-running PHANTOM) and Victoria Strong in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza premiere of Cole Porter's most raucous, sexy, and best loved musical ever, KISS ME, KATE! Cabrillo Music Theatre's 20th Anniversary Season kicks off with the popular favorite tonight, October 18th, 2013, playing until Sunday, October 27th, at the 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

KISS ME KATE has been charming audiences for generations. With a clever combination of Shakespeare's TAMING OF THE SHREW and backstage shenanigans during the production of a musical version of the play, KATE, with a book by Sam and Bella Spewak, is considered to contain Cole Porter's most popular score. It's no wonder that the show, a Tony winner for Best Musical, was later revived on Broadway, winning another for Best Revival. The movie version, starring Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, and Ann Miller (and featuring Bob Fosse and Bobby Van in small roles) became a classic as well.

The plot brings together a self-absorbed director/star, his temperamental ex-wife/co-star, a fame-driven starlet, a fast-footed gambler, a pair of hoodlums, a power-mad General, and many others, as the comedy confusion flies fast and furious. The score leaps nimbly from hit song to hit song, including "Too Darn Hot," "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "So In Love," "I Hate Men," "Tom, Dick or Harry," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," to name just a few. And the dances run the full range of musical theatre styles, dazzling at every turn. The result is a unique blend that has audiences laughing and cheering from beginning to end.

Theatre star Davis Gaines makes his Cabrillo Music Theatre debut as FrEd Graham, the production's leading man and director, as well as the role of Petruchio in the show-within-the-show TAMING OF THE SHREW. A popular theatre favorite for years, Gaines is perhaps best known as the title role in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, a role he has played more times in Southern California than any other actor in history. The recent Ovation Award Winner will join forces with Southern California theatre mainstay Victoria Strong as Lilli Vanessi (also as "Kate," the shrew), Scott Reardon ("Prince Dauntless" in Cabrillo's ONCE UPON A MATTRESS) as Bill Calhoun and Lucentio, and Reba Buhr ("Sally" in Cabrillo's CHARLIE BROWN) as Lois Lane/Bianca. Local theatre favorites, and frequent Cabrillo stars, Steven Perren and Ronald Rezac play GenerAl Harrison Howell and Harry Trevor/Baptista Minola, respectively. Joining them will be (in alphabetical order); Orlando Agawin, Francesca Barletta, John Paul Batista, Michael Byrne, Danielle Campbell, Allen Darby, Martin Feldman, Jay Gamboa, Lexi Greene, StEve Greene, Abigail Herman, Natalie Rose Iscovich, Raquel Nicole Jete, Kurt Kemper, Anna Lamonica, Tellina Lee, Derek A. Lewis, Tom G. McMahon, Timothy Reese, Shelley Regner, Tracy Ray Reynolds, Harry Schantz, Joey Sponseller, Megan Stonger and Lamont Whitaker.

Directing will be Southern California favorite Richard Israel, returning to Cabrillo after last year's successful ONCE UPON A MATTRESS. John Todd makes his Cabrillo debut as Choreographer, and Darryl Archibald returns as Musical Director, leading the full, professional Cabrillo Music Theatre Orchestra. "I can't believe that KISS ME, KATE has never been performed in the Civic Arts Plaza, "says Lewis Wilkenfeld, Cabrillo's Artistic Director. "It's one of the very few 'classics' that has been on our audience's wish lists for years and years! I'm very pleased to be able to finally give this show the Cabrillo quality production it deserves." Adds Wilkenfeld, "With Davis Gaines in the starring role, making his local debut, KATE will be more than 'another op'nin', another show,' - it promises to be 'too darn hot,' too!!

With KISS ME KATE, Cabrillo Music Theatre launches its second season of Arts Education. KISS ME, KATE provides a fun way to learn about one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Study Guides are available and accessible for teachers at public schools, private schools and home school parent/teachers, and any parent or individual interested. The Study Guide supplements a fun musical outing with an educational experience that helps students take a difficult subject like Shakespeare, and understand and apply the subject matter and the language in a modern setting.

With music that is remembered forever, to dance that you'll never forget.... With comedy and romance from beginning to end..... Cabrillo Music Theatre's KISS ME KATE has something for everyone, and, though it has a touch of adult languages is recommended for all audiences! Start Cabrillo's 20th Anniversary Season off with a red-hot bang, and "get thou" to see KISS ME KATE at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza!


Richard Israel (Director) returns to Cabrillo Music Theatre, where he directed last season's Once Upon A Mattress. Recent directing credits include: The Burnt Part Boys for Third Street Theatre, Dead Man's Cell Phone for ICT, and Having It All for the Laguna Playhouse. Prior to these productions, he directed The Full Monty and Falsettos (both for Third Street Theatre), Avenue Q for DOMA Theatre Company and Gypsy for West Coast Ensemble Theatre (L.A. Weekly Award Nominations for Directing and Outstanding Musical). Other credits include: Meet Me In St. Louis for MTW, Leading Ladies for ICT, A Christmas Carol and A Grand Night for Singing (both for the Norris Theatre), and Bell, Book and Candle for The Colony Theatre, as well the critically acclaimed West Coast Premiere of Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, and Adam Guettel's Floyd Collins - both for Hollywood's West Coast Ensemble Theatre. He has directed several staged readings for the Musical Theatre Guild including Violet and High Fidelity. Richard is recipient of the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Career Achievement Award for Directing and is a proud member of SDC.

John Todd (Choreographer). Recent choreography credits include: Monster's University, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Mulanstage shows for Disney. Commercials: "Rayban Eyewear" and "Scope w/Ryan Seacrest". Theatre: Sunset Boulevard (MTW), Company(Crown City), Leading Ladies (ICT), Bells Are Ringing and Anyone Can Whistle (MTW), Jasper In Deadland (Pasadena Musical Theater),Falsettos and The Full Monty (Third Street Theater), Gypsy and Merrily We Roll Along. Film and Television: "Samantha Spade Ace Detective", "The Office", "Saving Mr. Banks", "Bourbon Street" (series Regular), "As The World Turns", "Sex And The City", "Law and Order", "Days Of Our Lives", "Jack The Giant Slayer", "Gnomio and Juliet", "Alpha and Omega", "Jackass Number Two", "A Christmas Carol", "Sironia", and "Spells" (with John Lithgow). Mr. Todd has also created three works for Houston Ballet. As a performer, Mr. Todd's Broadway credits include Movin' Out (original cast), and The Phantom of The Opera.

Darryl Archibald (Musical Director) Memphis Broadway tour (musical director/conductor); Dreamgirls national tour (associate conductor); Disney's The Lion King Broadway tour (vocal coach/assistant conductor); Wicked at the Pantages Theater (substitute conductor); Jonathan Dove's Innocence (Banff Centre, Manhattan Theatre Club); Nightmare Alley - workshop with Marti Pellow (The Geffen Playhouse); Swing! (Sacramento Music Circus); Smokey Joe's Café (Ovation Award), Serrano - workshop with James Barbour and directed by Joel Zwick (El Portal Theater); I Married Wyatt Earp - workshop with Carole Cook and Carol Lawrence (Wadsworth Theater);The Sound Of Music (Ovation nomination), Legally Blonde: The Musical, The Producers, White Christmas, A Chorus Line directed by Kay Cole, The King and I with Deborah Gibson (Cabrillo Music Theatre); Next To Normal, Swing!, The Buddy Holly Story (McCoy/Rigby);Ragtime, Never Gonna Dance, Silk Stockings, And The World Goes 'Round (MTW); Merry Me A Little - revised version (Celebration Theater); Two By Two with Jason Alexander and Faith Prince, How To Succeed In Business... with John O'Hurley, Carousel with M. Emmet Walsh, The Fantasticks with Eric McCormack, Once On This Island (NAACP Award) with Ledisi, Li'l Abner with Cathy Rigby and Fred Willard, Merrily We Roll Along with Teri Hatcher, I Do! I Do! with Diana Canova and Harry Groener (Reprise); Great Expectations, My Fair Lady, 1776, Little Shop Of Horrors, Camelot, and Forever Plaid (Utah Shakespearean Festival); Company (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nomination), Cabaret, Merrily We Roll Along (West Coast Ensemble); Loving Repeating, The Fix, The Threepenny Opera, Raisin with Nell Carter (ICT); The Fix, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Lady In the Dark, and Sail Away (Musical Theater Guild). Guest conductor for the pop-rock group ERASURE (Palm Springs Convention Center); Arrangement and orchestration credits include: the prime-time television special "A Hollywood Holiday Celebration" (ABC), The Fountain Show and Christmas Trolley Show (The Grove Los Angeles), Great Expectations (Utah Shakespearean Festival).


Davis Gaines (Fred/Petruchio) performed the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera over 2,000 times, during his run on Broadway, in Los Angeles, (where he remains LA's longest-running Phantom), and in San Francisco, (where he received the Bay Area Critics' Award for Best Actor). Subsequently, he was chosen by Hal Prince and Lloyd Webber to play the leading role in the World Premiere of Whistle Down the Wind. Other Broadway and National Tour credits include: "Raoul" in The Phantom of the Opera, "Cornelius Hackl" in Hello, Dolly! (with Carol Channing), Camelot (with Richard Burton) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (with Alexis Smith). Gaines' Off-Broadway appearances include: Des McAnuff's The Death of Von Richthofen as Witnessed from Earth, the Maury Yeston/Larry Gelbart musical One Two Three Four Five, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, She Loves Me and Forbidden Broadway. He made his New York City Opera debut in The New Moon, and appeared in New York in concert versions of Sitting Pretty, The Cat and the Fiddle, Pippin and the Encores production of The Boys from Syracuse. In Southern California, he portrayed "Hannibal Lecter" (LA Weekly Award, Best Male Musical Performance) in SILENCE! The Musical, he appeared at Musical Theater West in Spamalot, Man of La Mancha (Ovation Award and Broadway World Award, Best Lead Actor in a Musical), 1776, Parade (with T.R. Knight/Mark Taper Forum) and Side by Side by Sondheim(Rubicon Theatre/Pasadena Playhouse). Regionally, he appeared as "King Arthur" in Camelot (Sacramento Music Circus), "Joe Hardy" inDamn Yankees (directed by the legendary George Abbott), "Mortimer Brewster" in Arsenic and Old Lace (with Kate Reid), Night of the Hunter (Lyric Stage), The Rink (with Lainie Kazan), and Two Into One (with Tony Randall). Gaines played "Anthony Hope" in the 20th Anniversary concert productions of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd in Los Angeles (with Kelsey Grammer and Christine Baranski), in London (with Len Cariou and Judy Kaye), and in New York, San Francisco, and Ravinia Festival (with George Hearn and Patti LuPone). He played "Sweeney Todd" in Sweeney Todd opposite Faith Prince, and "Sky Masterson" in Guys and Dolls, both with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. He also toured the country with Olympic Champion Dorothy Hamill in Broadway on Ice. Film work includes a featured role in "Warlock: The Armageddon" (with Julian Sands) and television credits include "Desperate Housewives", "Charmed", "Chicago Hope", "Veronica's Closet", "Bodies of Evidence" and "Murder, She Wrote." He appeared in three PBS Great Performances broadcasts (Emmy Award-winning Sweeney Todd with the San Francisco Symphony, Broadway Originals with the Boston Pops and Jerry Herman's Broadway at the Bowl), as well as the televised specials of the "1994 Kennedy Center Honors" and the opening ceremony of the "1998 Goodwill Games." Additionally, Gaines has sung for five U.S. Presidents and with every major symphony orchestra in North America, including the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. He has also performed in cabaret in New York at "Feinstein's at Loews Regency" and "Rainbow and Stars", Hollywood's "Cinegrill" and San Francisco's "Plush Room". His voice can be heard in over 30 cast recordings and compilation albums, as well as two solo CDs, "Against the Tide" and "All My Tomorrows: Songs of Sammy Cahn." Gaines resides in Los Angeles and is a frequent singer of our National Anthem for the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and Dodgers. Most recently, made his Los Angeles area directing debut at Musical Theatre West with Oklahoma!, and appeared opposite Vicki Lewis in I Do!, I, Do! at the Laguna Playhouse.

KISS ME, KATE will open on Friday, October 18th, 2013 and run through Sunday, October 27th. Performances are Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. A post-show discussion with cast, staff and audience will follow the Saturday, October 19th, 2:00pm performance. A signed performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing will take place on the Friday, October 25th performance.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks or through any Ticketmaster location or by phone (800) 745-3000. For groups of 10 or more, call Group Sales, Cabrillo Music Theatre at (805) 497-8613. Ticket prices range from $30-$65. For ticket and theatre information, call (805) 449-ARTS (2787).

CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE's 2013-2014 season - the 20th Anniversary - continues with FOREVER PLAID (January-February 2014), IN THE HEIGHTS (March-April 2014) and BYE BYE BIRDIE (July 2014). Season Subscriptions are available.

CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE performs exclusively at the Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Bank of America Performing Arts Center, at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

Cabrillo Music Theatre is the Ovation Award-winning Resident Musical Theatre Production Company of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and a non-profit theatre organization. For over three decades, Cabrillo has been enriching the cultural life of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties and the surrounding areas by providing an extraordinary performing arts experience through live, Broadway-quality productions of musical theatre. It is Cabrillo's mission to provide the highest quality musical experience, to foster educational opportunities, and to promote cultural and artistic enrichment to enhance the quality of life in Southern California. To this end, Cabrillo Music Theatre goes "Beyond the Footlights" with programs to give back to the community, and to provide enhanced theatre experiences for all audiences. Since the inception of "Beyond the Footlights," over 35,000 underserved children, in-need seniors, and active military have enjoyed Cabrillo Music Theatre's productions at no charge. In addition, Cabrillo provides ASL signed performances of every production; talkbacks with cast and staff; Cabrillo's Animal Rescue program raises funds and awareness for homeless and abused dogs and cats; and Cabrillo partnered with FOODSHARE last summer to provide food for those in need.

Cabrillo Music Theatre is now in its second season of offering at least one show per season that fits into the category of Arts Education, per the official description from the City of Thousand Oaks Cultural Affairs Commission. KISS ME, KATE provides an educational opportunity to learn about one of Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Study Guides are available and accessible for teachers at public schools, private schools and home school parent/teachers, and any parent or individual interested. The Study Guide supplements a fun musical outing with an educational experience that helps students take a difficult subject like Shakespeare, and understand and apply the subject matter and the language in a modern setting. These Study Guides meet the California Department of Education's State Content Standards in two different subjects: Theatre AND Literature. They also address the Visual and Performing Arts Framework in Musical Theatre.

Photo Credit: Ed Krieger


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