"Kiss Me Kate" thrills on opening night

<strong>LOGAN— </strong>The Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre kicked of its 20th season Thursday with an afternoon showing of the classical opera Faust before capping the night off with its first musical production of the season, “Kiss Me Kate.”

Though the crowd for the 7:30 p.m. show was decidedly senior, the Ellen Eccles Theatre was packed for the show. Friday night’s showing of “My Fair Lady” is expected to be sold out, as the UFOMT officially kicks off its 20th anniversary with much fanfare. However, Thursday night’s production seemed to be a near sell-out, and those on hand did not leave disappointed.

Crowds and fanfare aside, the musical was entertaining, fun-filled, and definitely worth the three hours of time spent taking it in.

“Kiss Me Kate” is a musical about a musical. Not to get into too many details, but it takes place in June of 1936 on the heels of the great depression. Director Frederick C. Graham is putting on a production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” at Ford’s Theatre in Baltimore. With Graham’s ex-wife playing the leading lady, the lives of the characters blur on and off the stage creating a witty and funny adventure.

Kyle Pfortmiller (Fred/Petruchio) clearly showed why he is in the leading role with outstanding vocals and a dominant stage presence. Meanwhile, co-star and leading lady Vanessa Ballam (Lilli/Kate) plays the part of the shrew perfectly with her spunkiness and quick wit.

The show does contain quite a bit of sexual innuendo – mostly in its songs – which probably makes it more suitable for a PG-13 audience. However, along with the music, “Kate” showcases some great dancing in multiple forms.

As great as the two leading actors are, Lee Daily and Daniel Quintana may have stole the show with their performances as the gangsters. They had the crowd rolling with their one-liners, and received the first standing ovation following the show. Their capper, and one of the highlights of the musical, was the duos rendition of “Brush up Your Shakespeare.”

There were a few parts of the production that seemed slightly out of place, and there was a couple of times the actors lines were hard to discern, but overall it was a solid opening night for “Kate.” If you’re looking for a night out with your special someone or a fun night out with the family, “Kiss Me Kate” will definitely leave you with a smile.

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