Production History: Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (2013)

In the spring of 2013, we produced our 3rd annual Shakespeare show in conjunction with GiGi's Playhouse Chicago. After just a few short years in operation, our program tripled in enrollment with 17 actors and 12 volunteer facilitators! Read on to see videos, photos, and more from this big show...

Semester Overview

We get asked a lot “why Shakespeare?” to which we say “Why not Shakespeare?” Taming of the Shrew is a perfect example of why Shakespeare’s work has endured for centuries. There’s so much to play with; the emotions are larger than life, the characters have very distinct personalities, there is a ton of witty banter, and the themes of gender roles still ring true. To take this up a notch, we’re incorporated music into this production. As we learned from our group’s success with The Wizard of Oz, music is a fantastic tool to heighten emotion, and proved a fun way for us to explore our main characters – Kate & Petruchio. (Fortunately, Cole Porter also recognized the brilliance of Shakespeare’s poetry, and used much of the original verse as lyrics for his songs in Kiss Me Kate).

Our classes focused on all the different types of relationships in the story – family, friends, romantic, adversarial – and how one behaves differently in different relationships. Actors auditioned for their favorite characters in March, and each performed at least 2 characters in the final performance.

Group Pieces

  • Group Song and Dance to “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”

  • Girl's song and dance to “I Hate Men”
  • Boy's song and dance to “I Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua”
  • Small Group Dance to “Too Darn Hot”


Guest Artists

  • Actress Laura Rook (who played Juliet in CST’s Romeo & Juliet) joined us for class to answer questions about what it’s like to be a professional Shakespeare actress, dealing with stage fright, and auditioning, and to teach us some warm up games.
  • Northwestern Medill School of Journalism student Rebecca Halleck joined us in class and interviewed several of our members for a video piece about art therapy.
  • Justin Mitchell from 91.5 WBEZ Radio joined us for several weeks leading up to our final performance for a segment featuring our actor, Colleen Altman. (Click here to listen.) 


Field Trip

Performance of Short Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier followed by a Q&A with the cast.



April 28th 2013 at Victory Gardens Theatre


GiGi’s Teen Drama Troupe

Colleen Altman

Quincy Bane

Marissa Bloodgood

Rachel Buchanan

Jack Butler

Benjamin Collins*

Alena Counter-Brown

Kathleen Daley

Andrew Kosnik

Emily Kwidzinski

Emily Lavin

Lucas Miezal

Samuel Floersheimer*

Sam Petri

Sam Radinsky

Hannah Vilic*

Lucy Walsh



Mallory Schuh-Alcala & Katie Yohe



Amanda Averack

Casey Clack*

Kristin Frasca*

Aislinn Gauchay

Travis Gauchay

Kate Garwood

Lawrence Kern

Lisa Schneider*

Kendra VanKempen

Peter VanKempen


Lighting and Sound Technician

Michael Clack


Poster Design

Brandy Taylor of Graphic Sorbet

* denotes first semester with our ensemble

Reviews for Taming of the Shrew

My favorite show is probably The Taming of the Shrew - that was Jack’s first time doing a Shakespeare show. It amazed me!
— Jack's Dad, John
I was so impressed by the amount of language the students were able to deliver and how well the show flowed from beginning to end. Throughout the show, I couldn’t stop thinking about the students, volunteers, and families equally, and how each group has SO MUCH to gain from being a part of your program.
— Jason Harrington Education Outreach Manager, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

We're flashing back to some of past production all summer long! Join us next time for clips and photos from a very special show - Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On - written by our actors!