The Taming
of the Shrew

September 16

November 12, 2017

CST's Courtyard Theater

by William Shakespeare
conceived & directed by Barbara Gaines
Columbia Women’s Club scenes by Ron West

Critical Acclaim

The concept is not only intelligent but exuberantly theatrical. Many of the skilled performances here are fun and warm-centered, including turns from the likes of Heidi Kettenring (Tranio, in the inner Shrew play), E. Faye Butler (Baptista), Hollis Resnik (Gremio) and Cindy Gold (Vincentio). Alexandra Henrikson (Katherine) is exceptionally sharp, complex and funny. And I was moved by Olivia Washington, who plays the overshadowed Bianca. The Shrew stuff takes on fascinating resonance and pretty much all of West’s clubby frame is a blast, especially in the hands of such accomplished female farceurs, all of whom are clearly enjoying keeping company only with each other.”

Director Barbara Gaines and writer Ron West have come up with an inspired solution to… Shakespeare’s comedy about the war between the sexes. West’s clever framing scenes give us a whole secondary layer of interesting characters with their own set of issues, egos and relationships. The result is a show with high-driving energy and a playful sense of sisterhood. The cast of 13 women is top hat, with Crystal Lucas-Perry as Mrs. Victoria Van Dyne, who assumes the role of Petruchio, so full of easeful bluster, that you never question her gender-shift for a second. She is paired with Alexandra Hendrikson as the fiery and rebellious Katherine, and as Mrs. Louise Harrison, a young socialite who finds liberation as a result of playing the shrew. And such stellar actresses as Tina Glushenko, Lillian Castillo, Ann James and Faith Servant play roles with comic zest. Is there a message here? Absolutely, and it has the hallmark of Gaines, the tiny powerhouse behind the massive Chicago Shakespeare operation. It is this: Women must get past their petty differences and rivalries, and unite for the greater good.”

Daily Herald
Brava! An inspired all-female Shrew. As in the original, director Barbara Gaines' inspired version of Shakespeare's thorny battle of the sexes unfolds as a play-within-a-play. In this case, the frame comes courtesy of Second City writer Ron West. His keen, amusing scenes—peppered with contemporary references to Chicago construction, the Cubs, partisan political bickering and popular vote totals—are interspersed among Shakespeare's in Gaines' cleverly conceived production. Not only is Henrikson's Katherine appropriately fiery, she's also deeply thoughtful. As for Lucas-Perry, her Petruchio is among the finest I've seen.”

Chicago Stage Standard
A hilarious and deeply feminist riff…this is a redeemed Shrew to take your daughters to. It is so rich, from the all too on the nose political humor to the delicious period set by Kevin Depinet, to the fantastic costumes by Susan E. Mickey. This new production, by recalling an historical era, becomes as current as tonight’s blog post from political pundits.”

Third Coast Review
Chicago Shakespeare Theater throws a powerhouse, A-list, all-female cast at old Will’s The Taming of The Shrew, starting with the conceit of well-heeled 1919 suffragists. The strongest, most novel commentary arrives not within the layers of gender-bending, but in the race-blind casting. See this vibrant production. A layered cake on a solid platter. A reflection of gender and race, tempered by pentameter during this shit storm of real world racism and misogyny. Women have always deserved our own shows and stories; and we need them now, more than ever. I’m with all these Hers.”

The Fourth Walsh
This SHREW is a must see winner! Director Barbara Gaines has ingeniously placed Shakespeare’s chauvinistic comedy into a female-defining moment in American history. Their dissection of a shrew is hilarious and poignant. Gaines’ production is absolutely the best way to experience THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. The comedy is infectious. The ensemble is superb. The overall message is uplifting! It’s a beautiful ode to sisterhood.”

Back to The Taming
of the Shrew

Additional Pages