Stories & Cast Interviews

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Daren Dishes

Posted by: Pia Haas on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

In our Production of Kiss Me Kate, Daren Kelly Plays General Harrison Howell, the career military officer, newly minted politician and Lilli's new man; a hard-bitten, conservative chauvinist who likes rules, order and precision.

Daren Kelly was born in Burbank, California and raised in Orange County near the first DISNEYLAND. His first mentor was Man of La Mancha's  Richard Kiley.  He met his
second mentor Bill LeMassena, in the Broadway cast of Deathtrap Bill toured With the Lunts in their celebrated tour of Taming of the Shrew, which Kiss Me Kate uses as the play within the play.

Daren has appeared in Taming of the Shrew four times, playing Tranio, Gremio and Hortensio... alas, he never made it to Petruchio.

Daren particularly enjoyed playing Julian Marsh in 42nd Street and The Music Man in Stock and on tour.
He loves to make short films with his friends. Most notably, Monkey Juggler, which one can watch on YouTube.
Monday, September 23, 2013

Meet The Bonny Kate! Christianne Tisdale

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 3:00:00 pm Comments (0)
 Christianne Tisdale Plays Kate/Lilli in Kiss Me Kate.. Read  on to discover some interesting tid bits about this fiesty actor!
I grew up in Glen Head, Long Island and Madison, Ct.  the party line is  "My family loved me so that I burst into song...and tortured me until I was loud enough to be heard."
I study acting with Sande Shurin (LOVE HER!!)  but my first was Nikos Psacharapolous at Yale, who founded Williamstown Theatre Festival and Circle in the Square.  He kept saying I was funny and I didn't get it since I'm awful at telling jokes and such, but his response in his glorious accent?  "Your's funny."  Sande Shurin keeps me honest, transformational and out there.
How did I prepare?  I learned my lines.  And my blocking.  And my songs. Always a good place to start.  What the hell...I'm an aging actress who has done Shakespeare...who needs to act?
I have a rescue dog, Baxter, and we can lose ourselves for hours in the park.  I'm also a volunteer dog walker for The Humane Society.  I'm into yoga and tap dancing.  I'm  a published writer, and I have a blog that goes through popularity phases, a CD in 14 different languages  that I produced and did many arrangements for, along with two books in the works and a grant-winning play that's about to workshop.  I bake a mean chocolate chip cookie pie and am currently decorating the beautiful apartment I recently bought

My  IPod?  From Bach to Buddhism to Bossa Nova.
Little known fact-my first semi professional opera was THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE and Frederic was played by Terrence Hyde who works for the theater.  He has a GLORIOUS tenor voice.

Meet Willam Michals.. Kate's Foil..

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 12:00:00 pm Comments (0)

William Michals Plays Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate. Some insights here on what makes him such a dynamic performer!


I grew up in Cranford New Jersey, but spent my summers down in Spring Lake New Jersey, right on the ocean in Monmouth County. There is a precious little jewel box of a community theater building there, and I spent my summers lifeguarding during the day, and doing musicals in the evenings! It was a beautiful time.  South Pacific, Carousel, The King and I, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Boyfriend, Grease, etc.

My late father Bill Michals Sr. was an attorney in New Jersey, but he had the most beautiful, rich, lyric baritone you ever could imagine. He loved to sing, and I miss him very much. However, it was my beautiful mom, currently a resident in Spring Lake New Jersey, who encouraged me to sing as a little kid, and I've been singing in choirs and school shows as long as I can remember. My late uncle Raymond Michalski was a leading bass at the Metropolitan Opera, but he passed away before my teens. When we were young, every family event would wind up around the piano, singing great music from Handel's Messiah, Broadway, opera, art songs, concert songs from the first half of the 20th century, or some more popular in recent stuff. But the sound of my family's  voices, especially the men on my father's side of the family, always rings in my ears; I am certain that my vocal quality and timbre is as genetically inherited as any other physical trait.

I always did theater while growing up, and studied Opera at Boston U, but my major was international relations. Didn't know what to do with that after college, so I gave myself a little time to be certain I wanted to be a performing artist… And, voilà! I segued professionally from opera into musical theater in '92, and never looked back! I specifically remember seeing the original productions of Evita and Amadeus on Broadway, and getting really excited about the art form.

I suppose I first saw Kiss Me Kate as a film, maybe 20 or 25 years ago. I learned "Where the life that late I led?", and "were thine that special face" for my audition book years ago, and I currently sing them, along with "So In Love" in my solo concerts. In fact, those three songs are featured on my CD, which is on sale at the theater now.

I've seen a revival or two of Kiss Me Kate  on Broadway over the years, but the opportunity hadn't arisen to play the part. The chance to work with Jim Brennan, and to (finally!) work with you folks at Westchester Broadway Theatre sealed the deal. 

This is the first time I have tackled the role, and it's been very challenging, but a heck of a lot of fun! Especially with only a week and a half to learn it – whew! Getting Shakespeare's language, cadence, and rhythms in one's body is always a challenge. But, in this play, I am actually playing Fred Graham playing Petruchio, and Fred's character is the one that must come through more than Shakespeare's Petruchio.  I'm blessed to be working in this wonderful field, and a classic piece of theater, with these sublime songs, allows me to say that my current project feels like my favorite!

Any chance I get, I head down to the beach at the Jersey shore, and ride some waves, or go for a long swim up the coast. However, being a father to two teenagers, I truly get the most satisfaction from helping them navigate the college process, schoolwork, and those magical, challenging years.

On My Ipod? Ha! Sometimes I think I hardly have time to listen to music. But I was letting myself indulge in the thrilling magnificence of Verdi's Requiem the other day. There's nothing like bathing in the shimmering and bone-rattling experience of that music in a great car stereo system!