Bognor Regis audiences are in for a rare treat with not one but two Cole Porter classics this autumn as the University of Chichester’s musical theatre students take to Bognor’s Alexandra Theatre stage with the classics Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes.
Senior lecturer Paul Ackerley said: “Both productions feature a West End live band, Kiss Me Kate under the baton of wunderkind international conductor of We Will Rock You and Grease, Phil Woods, and Anything Goes under the great Stuart Hutchinson, whose career began understudying Leonard Bernstein.
“Each production is inspirationally staged by Chichester’s resident senior director Karen Howard whose Annie Get Your Gun was last year’s sell-out triumph and Ed Burnside who returns to Chichester after five years touring with Billy Elliot and Matilda. The spectacular choreography this year is by Chichester’s brilliant Damien Delaney and Drew Varley whose work has graced many a West End stage, from Billy Elliot to Cats. The designs will once again be created by Ryan Laight who imagined and realised last year’s visuals and costumes for the Irving Berlin double-bill.
“The Cole Porter songs are legendary from Too Darn Hot to You're the Top and Anything Goes. Where else are you going get 25 classic hits into four hours of musicals? And if you buy both at the same time you get the second production at half price!
“Kiss Me Kate was Porter’s response to Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma and stayed on Broadway for more than 1,000 performances in 1949. It’s a double-dose battle of the sexes show-within-a-show comedy. Sam and Bella Spewack’s wise, tart script incorporates Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew as a Baltimore theatre company work up an hilarious local production. It’s exceptional fun and one of the musical theatre stage’s enduring triumphs.
“Anything Goes is based on the beloved, timeless book by Guy Bolton and P G Wodehouse and is set aboard the New York to England ocean liner with its smorgasbord of gangsters, nightclub singers and British toffs. What could possibly go wrong? And it’s all brought to you by two casts of second-year students.”
Students Rachel Horscroft and Emilio Crescenzo are playing the parts of Kate/Lily and First Man in Kiss Me Kate.
Rachel said: “We are now following in a tradition that has seen some really successful professional performers launch their professional careers on this stage, in this production. It’s a huge responsibility to the cast, to ourselves and to the audience to make each new production as good as the last. And it will be!’
Students Ellie Kingdon and Alice Fisher play Reno and Hope in Anything Goes. They have been rehearsing weekly for the shows since September.
Ellie said: “This is a conservatoire-style training by the some of the best practitioners in the industry. It’s hard, exhausting technical work where only the best will do. But that’s fine, because we want to be the best!”
The shows are at The Alexandra Theatre, Regis Centre, Bognor Regis PO21 1BL on:
Kiss Me Kate: Thursday, November 15 and every evening at 7.30pm until Saturday, November 17, with a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday.
Anything Goes: Thursday, November 22 and every evening at 7.30pm until Saturday, November 24, with a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday.
Tickets for Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes are available from The Regis Centre box office on 01243 861010.