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‘Kiss Me Kate’ opens at Bearden High School

Opening night for the musical theater production of “Kiss Me Kate” at Bearden High School is at 7:30 p.m. this evening in the school’s auditorium.

Leann Dickson, BHS theater teacher and musical director, said this production is the most challenging musical the students have tackled thus far.

“The students auditioned to be in the theater class last spring and then re-auditioned to be in the play,” she said. “About eighty students tried out for the musical and approximately forty made it.” Dickson added there are more than 30 crew members who work with lighting, set design and costumes.

Rachel Dellinger, stage manager, and Kyle Fox, assistant stage manager, have been working alongside of Dickson. The two combined have a great deal of theater experience. Fox said he has been in several plays and musicals, while Dellinger said she prefers the technical end of the production.

“It is so rewarding to see everything come together,” Fox said. Dellinger added, “We don’t have a life for the first couple of weeks in November, but that’s OK.”

Rehearsals have become an important factor in the last few weeks of the production. Dellinger said the cast and crew rehearsed from 1 to 11 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7, with a one-hour break for dinner. Parent volunteers provided dinner and desserts for the students during their break.

The first dress rehearsal was , Sunday, Nov. 7. Dellinger said the dress rehearsal gives the entire crew a chance to “work the kinks” out before show time.

During the days before opening night, the students will rehearse from 6 to 11 p.m.

“Kiss Me Kate” is unique in that it is a play within a play. The setting is a theater production of William Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” in 1940s Baltimore.

The actors have the difficult role of playing their own ’40s character as well as their Shakespearean character.

Many volunteers have contributed to the production of “Kiss Me Kate.” Cast and crew mothers constructed costumes, an outreach program of the University of Tennessee assisted with make-up while volunteers helped with lighting and sound. All of the scenery was built by the theater class students and several artistic parents painted sets as well.

BHS music director Mary Sexton and her orchestra of keyboard, drums and piano will be keeping the musical side of the production intact.

Dickson noted the students have bonded with each other because of the amount of time they spend together.

“Theater production promotes a sense of responsibility, organization and a great deal of team-work,” she said.

The BHS production of “Kiss Me Kate” is 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 13, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 14. Tickets are $6 for students and $8 for adults.


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