Carte Blanche Studios Theatre finishes off its farcical summer offerings and kicks off a new season with William Shakespeare’s classic comedy; “Taming of the Shrew.”  The company continues to solidify its place in Milwaukee theatre as a venue for entertaining and understandable Shakespeare after previous seasons; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Much Ado about Nothing.” Director Jimmy Dragolovich finds the fun in one of the bard’s earliest and most outrageous tales about a father desperately trying to rid his house of his terrible tempered eldest daughter Katherine, so that he may marry off his mild-mannered younger daughter Bianca. The cast includes many returning talents and a few new exciting faces as well.

            The two daughters are handled quite competently by the dynamic Liv Mueller (Katherine) and the cleverly characteristic Jennifer Gaul (Bianca). Both bring a depth and heart to a cast of larger than life characters.

            Katherine is “wooed” by the overly bombastic and romantically barbaric Petruchio (Michael Keiley). Keiley is no stranger to loud and domineering Shakespearean characters as he has played Oberon, king of the fairies, and a hilariously high-energy Dogberry. Keiley is a Carte Blanche regular and his overbearing performance will show you why he is certainly one of this small theatres favorite faces.

            Bianca’s suitors are portrayed by two quick witted and eccentric characters. Michael Traynor brings the tender quirks that he has shown in strength to the pathetically amorous Hortensio, Kelly Dorherty is a hilariously hapless aged suitor Gremio. The emotional centerpiece of the play is presented deftly by a newcomer to Carte Blanche’s repertoire, Kyle Stefanski (Lucentio), who switches identity with his servant Tranio to become the secret seducer of Bianca.

            Much of the humor and plot of this show plays through the relationship of master and servant. Clayton Hamburg’s homecoming performance, after a summer as the French prince at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, takes him from royalty to groveling and worshipful Grumio; attendant to Petruchio. Katrina Greguska, another Carte Blanche powerhouse and standard, molds a rascally tomboyish servant named Biondello and designs an exciting new take on costuming the show that one must see to believe.

            The servant Tranio, who weaves the tangled tapestry of deceit, is another familiar face to Carte Blanche and Milwaukee theatre; Jordan Gwiazdowski. The swift sharp tongue of a Shakespearean fool is familiar fun for Gwiazdowski; who charmed audiences with his awkwardly vain yet sincerely silly portrayal of Benedick in “Much Ado about Nothing”

            The show features a talented surrounding ensemble that provides a new love and energy to the traditionally formal idea of Shakespeare. Shakespeare is cool and you can be too;  Tickets can be purchased on line at www.carteblanchestudios.com or from the box office 262.716.4689 for show dates September  23-26, 30 and October  1-3, 7-10.  Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thusday through Sunday, and 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.  Tickets will go fast, so don’t wait until right before the show to purchase! 

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