Shakespeare’s prose on roller skates, “The Taming of the Shrew” on the steps of the Lear Theater.

A Mix of 1590s and 1950s, Merry War Theater’s rendition of “The Taming of the  Shrew” is such a pleasure in pastel.


On the steps of the historic Lear Theater,  Merry War Theater once again takes a Shakespeare play, shakes it up, and adds heaping elements of fun. This production of “The Taming of the Shrew” is, without doubt, the most enjoyable I have ever experienced.

First, when you walk into the gate you are greeted with a 1950s diner, the set in itself is a work of art with finishing touches by local artist Killbuck. Looking around the stage you will find a band with a drummer strategically positioned inside of a jukebox. The band “Santa Cruisers” entertain the audience with lively 1950s  rock that may just get you out of your seats to dance. Trust me though, this is just the start and this is the reason to get there a bit early so that you don’t miss the pre-show music.

Experiencing a play on the steps of the Lear Theater on a pleasant spring evening is a joy in itself. Bring your folding chairs, snacks, and enjoy the action on two stages, with live music and even a folly artist adding exclamation points to the drama in front of you. Bring the family as well.

As for the story?

A Wealthy father with two daughters, one daughter is sweet and loved and the other is dramatic and feared. The father is motivated to marry both of them off, not as easy of a task as one may think. Thus, there is the very root of the story, although many complications arise.  The pure Shakespearean version of this play is indeed hard to follow with language that may have been hard to understand even in the 1600s, but blended with 1950s style and rock and roll fun the story flows like a well-fed mountain stream.

Then there is the cast!

The actors are Boss with the power of a Bent Eight always ready to have a Blast but be sure that you will be in no hurry to Agitate the Gravel as they Burn Rubber in each scene. In other words, the cast is fantastic with so much energy and fun. Lead by the always energetic Chase McKenna, who plays Kate, the troublesome daughter with attitude that won’t end the cast plays the story with so much fun and good times.

There is a deeper message in the story, a story of misogyny and feminism that was explored hundreds of years ago and we are still talking about those same subjects today. This may tell us that there are no answers to our society’s challenges, all we can hope for is to have frank discussions and learn from each other.

I could go on and on at how much I loved this show, but my time is running out, go see “The Taming of the  Shrew” and let me know what you think?

Check out the photos for a taste of what you will see as you enjoy your picnic on the steps of the Lear Theater, enjoying this wonderful play.

~Dana Nollsch~

The Taming of the Shrew plays through June 30th 2018 with doors opening at 6:30 and the show starting at 7:30. Tickets are at the door and are Free with a suggested donation of $5.00 at the Historic Lear Theater at Riverside and Ralston.


Cameron Shirey – Petruchio

Chase McKenna – Katherine “Kate”

Lili Grajeda – Bianca

Efrain Gonzalez – Lucentio

Lachlan McKinney – Tranio, Tailor

Michael Peters – Baptista

Aiden Nunez – Biondello

Chadaeos Clarno- Gremio

Owen Bryant – Hortensio

Noel Tsuchiya – Grumio

Brian Ault – Ensemble, Petruchio’s Gang, Tourist

Ariel Quinain – Ensemble, Petruchio’s Gang, Bianca understudy

Jon Lutz – Vincentio, Band Knucklehead

Brooke Lynn Tousley- Ensemble, Cook, Petruchio’s Gang, Haberdasher

Michelle Perez – The Widow

Stacy Lott – Ensemble, Petruchio’s Gang


The Santa Cruisers (The Band): Patricia Brewer (Pianist), Frankie Ferreira (Drummer), Gary Kephart (Lead Guitar), Jon Lutz (Guitar), Megan Fielder (Lead Singer/Foley Artist)

For more information, check out Merry War Theater’s website:

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