Douglas Sills & Christine Sherrill to Star in KISS ME, KATE at Shakespeare Theatre Company

By: Oct. 13, 2015

It's not just "another op'nin' of another show," it's the classic musical the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) was destined to produce: Kiss Me, Kate. STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul, director of last season's smash hit Man of La Mancha-the best-selling production in the Company's history-and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director, Resident Musical) helms Kiss Me, Kate, with choreography by Michele Lynch (Washington National Opera's Show Boat).

The winner of the first-ever Tony Award for Best Musical, featuring such timeless Cole Porter numbers as "So in Love," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" and "Too Darn Hot," runs November 17, 2015-January 3, 2016, at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW).

As they try to stage a musical version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, sparks fly on and off stage between Fred Graham (Douglas Sills), the show's director and star, and Lilli Vanessi (Christine Sherrill), his leading lady-and ex-wife. Add to the mix passionate young lovers-ingénue Lois Lane (Robyn Hurder) and her gambler boyfriend Bill Calhoun (Clyde Alves)-plus a few musically inclined gangsters' heavies, and the result is a sharp and witty night with some of Cole Porter's most immortal songs.

"Combining the 1940s backstage world with a musicalized The Taming of the Shrew makes Kiss Me, Kate such a treat for fans of musicals and of Shakespeare," says Paul. "I'm thrilled to share my love for this great show with our audiences, and to explore the fascinating romantic complexities of the characters Fred and Lilli and their Shakespearean counterparts Petruchio and Kate."

STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn says, "Kiss Me, Kate takes the Shakespeare Theatre Company to another level in producing musicals. This is a song-and-dance extravaganza on a scale our audiences have not seen here before, and it's coming from a theatre that is exceptionally well-suited to bringing Shakespeare-inspired material to the rich life it deserves."

To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 202.547.1122 or visit

Musicals at the Shakespeare Theatre Company are made possible by the Beech Street Foundation. Kiss Me, Kate is sponsored by the HRH Foundation.

Press Night/Opening Night will be Monday, November 23, at 7:45 p.m.

Artists and dates are subject to change.


Douglas Sills (Fred Graham/Petruchio) has been seen on Broadway in Living on Love, Little Shop of Horrors and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical). He has also toured in The Scarlet Pimpernel, as well as The Addams Family, The Secret Garden and Into the Woods, and has appeared in film, television and at regional theatres throughout the country.

Christine Sherrill (Lilli Vanessi/Katherine) was recently featured at Signature Theatre in The Fix. She has toured in Mamma Mia! and appeared as Elise in the pre-Broadway engagement of First Wives Club in Chicago. She has also been seen in Chicago in shows such as Sunset Boulevard (Norma Desmond, 2013 Jeff Award), Annie (Miss Hannigan), Legally Blonde, Million Dollar Quartet and Jekyll and Hyde.

The cast also features Clyde Alves (Bill Calhoun/Lucentio), Bev Appleton (Ralph), Bob Ari (First Man), Brandon Bieber (Hortensio), Elliot Dash (Pops), Robyn Hurder (Lois Lane/Bianca), Zonya Love (Hattie), Raymond Jaramillo McLeod (Second Man), Con O'Shea-Creal (Gremio), T. Oliver Reid (Paul), Patrick Ryan Sullivan (Harrison Howell) and Harry A. Winter (Harry Trevor/Baptista).

Rounding out the cast are ensemble members Jay Adriel, Susan Derry, Carl Draper, Heidi Kershaw, Monette McKay, Eliza Ohman, Alfie Parker Jr., Olivia Russell and Kristen Smith Davis, and swings Stephanie Bissonnette, Kevin Michael Raponey and Wood Van Meter.


STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul's directing credits for the Company include last season's production of Man of La Mancha and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for which he was recognized with the 2014 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director, Resident Musical. His work spans theatre and opera, and he was a 2013 finalist for the European Opera Directing Prize in Vienna, Austria. Earlier this year he directed the world premiere of Penny, part of the Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative, as well as Silence! The Musical for Studio Theatre 2ndStage.


The artistic team includes Choreographer Michele Lynch, Music Director Doug Peck, Scenic Designer Jim Noone, Costume Designer Alejo Vietti, Lighting Designer Paul Miller, Sound Designer Justin Stasiw, Assistant Choreographer Patch David, Fight Director David Leong, Associate Music Director/Conductor James Cunningham, Michael Dansicker (additional dance arrangements), Laura Stanczyk Casting, CSA, Resident Casting Director Carter C. Wooddell, Literary Manager/Dramaturg Drew Lichtenberg, Head of Voice and Text Ellen O'Brien, Production Stage Manager Joseph Smelser, Stage Manager Robyn M. Zalewski and Assistant Stage Manager Maria Tejada.


Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has become one of the nation's leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Executive Director Chris Jennings, STC's innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation's premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company's artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights' language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and acting classes to discussion series as well as accessible programs like the annual Free For All, one of STC's most beloved annual traditions, allowing audiences to experience Shakespeare at no charge.

Located in our nation's capital, STC performs in two theatres, the Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., creating a dynamic, cultural hub of activity that showcases STC as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC moved into the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre in March 1992, after six years in residency in the Folger Library's Elizabethan theatre. At that time the Penn Quarter neighborhood was not considered desirable by many; since then, STC has helped drive its revitalization. The 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall opened in October 2007.


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