Santa Cruz Shakespeare setting up for its 2023 season at DeLaveaga Park
Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2023 season runs through Aug. 27 at the Audrey Stanley Grove.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
City Life

Don’t sleep on Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s ‘Shrew’ this summer

Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2023 season is in full swing, but with high-profile productions of “King Lear” and “The Book of Will” also on the slate, it would be easy to overlook “The Taming of the Shrew.” That would be a mistake, Wallace Baine writes.

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Santa Cruz Shakespeare opened a pivotal season last week with a glorious and spritely new production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” in the Audrey Stanley Grove at DeLaveaga.

Yes, “Shrew” examines some rather retrograde gender roles, to say the least, but through the eyes of contemporary audiences, it’s fun to see Kate, a spirited and ferociously independent-minded woman, trying to survive in such an antiquated and suffocating world, surrounded by scheming suitors — all for her more compliant sister, it turns out — and one preening, absurdly self-confident alpha male.

Speaking of those buzzing suitors, David Kelly is one actor who deserves to be singled out for his juicy comic performance, all snooty outrage and naked desperation. Kelly Rogers as Kate is also a standout for her she-lion portrayal.

A scene from a performance of Santa Cruz Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew"
Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” is full of fine performances, notably David Kelly (in top hat) as Gremio with (from left) Sophia Metcalf, River Naille and Junior Nyong’o.
(Via Kevin Lohman)

It’s all good fun and really worth a look-see. Given that the SCS summer season features two other high-profile productions, Lauren Gunderson’s “The Book of Will” and Paul Whitworth’s return as the title character in “King Lear,” “Shrew” could be overlooked. Don’t let it pass you by.

Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s season runs through Aug. 27 at the Audrey Stanley Grove at DeLaveaga Park; click here for more information and tickets.