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Free Shakespeare in the Park Returns to Western Maryland

Cumberland Theatre teams with the Embassy and Our Town Theatres to create month-long festival


The Cumberland Theatre is proud to once again be presenting free Shakespeare in the Park to local residents. This year, the theatre has partnered with the Embassy Theatre in Downtown Cumberland and Our Town Theatre in Oakland to create a month-long festival of events centered around the works and styling of William Shakespeare. The festival is receiving support from the Community Trust Foundation with hopes of adding more activities and organizations each year.



The Cumberland Theatre’s production of Taming of the Shrew will take place at the Gilchrist Gallery Garden on August 11th and 12th at 7:00 pm. Admission is free and residents are welcome to bring their own blankets and chairs to enjoy a relaxing evening.


The Taming of the Shrew is one of the Bard’s most popular comedies, originally written in the 1500s. The Cumberland Theatre production takes the show out of Elizabethan England and sets it in the American Old West.


The ‘shrew’ of the story is Katherina, the wilful and obstinate eldest daughter of Baptista Minola. Baptista refuses to let his younger daughter, Bianca, wed any of her suitors, unless Katherina also marries. The intricate comic plot – full of deception and disguise – revolves around competition between Hortensio, Gremio and Lucentio to win Bianca’s hand in marriage. But at its center is the attempt of one man, Petruchio, to tame the wild Katherina, and turn her into an obedient and doting wife.


The Taming of the Shrew has been adapted numerous times for stage, screen, opera, ballet, and musical theatre, perhaps the most famous adaptations being Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate; McLintock!, a 1963 American Western comedy film, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara; and the 1967 film of the play, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The 1999 high-school comedy film 10 Things I Hate About You, and the 2003 romantic comedy Deliver Us from Eva are also loosely based on the play.


The cast features a diverse group of actors including several veterans from CT. Playing the roles of Petruchio and Katherina will be Seth Thompson (last seen in The Wisdom of Eve) and Kimberli Rowley (last seen in The Prom and CT’s current Artistic Director). Playing the roles of Lucentio and Hortensio are Pierce Bunch and Joe Staton. Bunch has appeared in this season’s The Wisdom of Eve and Perfect Wedding. Staton was seen in Murder on the Orient Express and 2022’s main stage production of Macbeth. Brenna Peerbolt (last seen in Perfect Wedding) returns to play Bianca and John DeFilippo (last seen in Macbeth) will play Tranio.


Others returning to CT are Reiner Prochaska (Baptista), Michael Sullivan (Gremio) and Krystal Pope (Biondello/Widow). Prochaska and Sullivan both last appeared in Murder on the Orient Express. Pope was recently featured as Marley in Escape to Margaritaville. Also, returning from Margaritaville is local actor Brian Records as Grumio.

The cast is rounded out by Katie Zimmerman, Grace LaCount, Finn Mannochio, and Tim Bambara as Vincentio.

The show is under the direction of Darrell Rushton. Elizabeth Mudge serves as the stage manager. The design team consists of Cody Gilliam (costume design) with assistance from Mannochio and props and set design by Rhett Wolford.


The show is performed with one short intermission and is appropriate for all ages. More information on The Taming of the Shrew as well as the offerings from The Embassy Theatre and Our Town Theatre can be found at cumberlandtheatre.com, embassytheatrecorp.org and ourtowntheatre.org.


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