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'Shrew' to heat up Summer Garden

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre typically slots a Shakespearean comedy for July, the central month of its calendar. This year's 39th season brings the tale of a wealthy father trying to marry off his difficult older daughter before choosing a groom for his younger, angelic daughter from her many suitors. William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew arrives July 2 at the 200-seat outdoor theater near City Dock in downtown Annapolis.

In rehearsal since May, first-time Summer Garden director Barry Genderson has developed an easy rapport with his actors that was apparent during last Thursday's rehearsal at Germantown Elementary. Genderson noted that the professional actors in his cast can project their voices without electronic amplification, they should not be troubled by the microphone problems that sometimes detract from Summer Garden's musical productions.

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At rehearsal, lead actress Maud Gleason was a highly charged Katherine - the shrew in the title. Gleason's Shakespearean background includes a stint at Oxford University's British American Dramatic Academy and tours of the United States and Canada with Shenandoah Shakespeare Express. She has graced Summer Garden's stage in Twelfth Night and last season's The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Having been seen in Summer Garden's Into the Woods as well as Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It, Lesley Miller will play Katherine's younger sister, Bianca, who doesn't lack for suitors but can't marry before Katherine.

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Katherine's suitor will be found when Petruchio, in search of a wealthy wife, arrives on the scene. Petruchio will be played by Jeffrey Miller, who in real life is married to Lesley Miller, whom he met at Summer Garden. Miller played the Baker in Into the Woods a few seasons back.

Larry Richman will play Baptista Minola, the wealthy father of Katherine and Bianca.

In the play, which is filled with deception and mistaken identities, wealthy young Hortensio (played by Michael Rogers) is smitten with Bianca and trades places with his servant, Lucentio (Dan Lavanga), so that he can be Bianca's tutor. Bianca's wealthy elderly suitor, Gremio, will be played by Greg Coale.

Others in the cast include Bryan Deehring, Emily Gerbasi, Jim Gunning, Angela Hilz, Josh Riffle and Beth Terranova, who will bring accessibility to Shakespeare in this comedy sometimes described as the Bard's bawdiest, a comic portrayal of the battle of the sexes.

The Taming of the Shrew opens July 2 and will be performed at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through July 31. For reservations, call 410-268-9212 or visit the Web site at www.SummerGarden.com.


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