Originally published July 4, 2019 at 10:00p.m.

Updated July 9, 2019 at 01:50p.m.

Prescott Center for the Arts is putting on “Kiss Me Kate,” directed by Scott Neese, for this year’s Teen Summer Stock Show.

“The teen Summer Stock is a program that happens during the summertime. It’s for students ages 14 to 22 predominantly,” Neese said. “We do a summer show and we only audition students that are in that age group so they have the opportunity to take on some of the larger roles that they might not otherwise get a chance to do during the mainstage season.”

The program also allows for an educational component due to the flexibility with scheduling and this year they did workshops in Commedia dell’arte, an early form of professional theater characterized by masked “types” originating in Italy, and Shakespearean monologues, Neese said, noting that “Kiss Me Kate” is a musical version focusing on a troupe of actors putting on a musical version of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12-13, and Friday and Saturday, July 19-20; and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14, and Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth, available online at www.pca-az.net.

This is the third year for Neese as the director of the Teen Summer Stock program and after doing “Urinetown” and “Shrek the Musical,” he said he wanted to go with a golden age of Broadway-type musical. “Kiss Me Kate” is one of Cole Porter’s final musicals and probably his best, he said. In the show, the two lead players used to be married and are now divorced and at each other’s throats in the way that Kate and Petruchio are in “The Taming of the Shrew,” Neese said.


Rehearsing for the Prescott Center for the Arts’ Teen Summer Stock show, “Kiss Me Kate.” (William Larson/Courtesy)

“You see backstage, you see on stage and sometimes the backstage drama ends up playing itself out on stage when they’re in front of an audience,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Neese said he’s enjoyed watching the students grow and stretch outside of their comfort zones. It’s rewarding to see them respond when that happens.

Prescott Center for the Arts’ production of “Kiss Me Kate” will present audiences with classical music done well along with funny and great performances by a great cast and live music from a 12-piece band in the green room, Neese said.

“That doesn’t always happen here on mainstage that you get live music,” he said. “It does happen sometimes but not always and so we’re excited to be able to do that.”

Prescott Center for the Arts is located at 208 N. Marina St. For more information, visit www.pca-az.net.

Follow Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels, reach him at 928-642-5277.