ShareThis Page

East Allegheny High School performs 'Kiss Me, Kate'

| Monday, March 18, 2013, 1:11 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
In this scene the gangsters Mike Grivna second from left and Tony Belobrajdich along with Zack Banks as Fred Graham meet Lilli Vanessi played by Jamie Rosenbayger.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
The Cantiamo Dancers from left Shannon Connell, Trelynn Stevens, Miranda Safran, Colleen Ness and Leah Pier stomp grapes in a wine dance.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Jamie Rosenbayger as Lilli Vanessi/Katherine, Adam Bannister as Bill/Lucentio, Kristen Psica as Lois Lane/Bianca, and Zack Banks as Fred Graham/Petrucchio dance to 'We Open in Venice.'
Cindy Shegan Keeley | DailyNews
Suitors, Sean Loving as Gremio, Adam Bannister as Lucentio, and Raymond Toncich as Hortensio try to win the hand of Bianca played by Kristen Psica.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | DailyNews
Ralph the stage manager, played by Sonny Colagrande, center, and two stagehands Sean Loving, left, and Raymond Toncich, perform 'Another Op'nin', Another Show.'
Cindy Shegan Keeley | DailyNews
The cast rehearses 'The Taming of the Shrew' in the opening number of 'Kiss Me, Kate.'

East Allegheny High School's music department invites you to see Shakespeare — performed by a post-World War II troupe with behind-the-scenes activity that could have the Bard rolling in his grave.

Or maybe he wonders why he didn't come up with “Kiss Me, Kate,” Cole Porter's Tony award-winning 1949 answer to the Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein musicals.

Jamie Rosenbayger and Zack Banks are Lilli Vanessi and Fred Graham, who in turn are Katherine and Petruchio in “The Taming of the Shrew,” an ill-starred courtship as done by an ill-starred couple.

“They're actually divorced,” said Carla Fiumara, who with Raymond Tonsich is student producer helping teacher Amanda Rosco oversee her fifth spring musical.

“(Graham) does something to make (Vanessi) angry,” Carla said. “He spanks her on stage.”

Jamie and Zack are veterans of the East Allegheny stage.

She was a Follies girl in “Crazy for You,” Cindy Lou Who in “Seussical,” and last year the older daughter Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

He was Moose in “Crazy for You,” Horton in “Seussical” and the student revolutionary Perchik in “Fiddler.”

“It is stressful,” Zack said of his dual roles.

“Crazy,” Jamie said.

Still, he's “filled with excitement on show days” and she finds it “always entertaining.”

As Thursday's opening nears, “we're practicing lines most of the time,” Zack said.

“Supposed to be, most of the time,” said Jamie, who with classmate Trelynn Stevens is dance co-captain.

The “Kiss Me, Kate” troupe also features a gambler named Bill Calhoun, played by Adam Bannister. Calhoun plays Lucentio in “Shrew” and signs Graham's name to an IOU.

This brings out gun-toting gangsters played by Mike Grivna and Tony Belobrajdich, looking for Graham.

“He never finds out why,” Carla said, “but he uses it to his advantage to keep (Vanessi) in the play.”

Other complications include the former Mrs. Graham's fiance, General Harrison Howell, played by Sam Richardson, and pursuits of Lois Lane by Mr. Graham and Bill Calhoun.

Neither man is all that super and this Lane isn't in a newsroom. Kristen Psica plays Lane and her “Shrew” character, Bianca.

Like Jamie and Zack, Kristen and Sam are wrapping up high school thespian careers. Sam was a cowboy in “Crazy for You,” the Grinch in “Seussical” and the Rabbi in “Fiddler.” Kristen was Irene Roth in “Crazy for You,” Thing 1 in “Seussical” and the daughter Shprintze in “Fiddler.”

Adam is a freshman. As a sixth-grader played the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz” at Logan Middle School.

“It is confusing, but it is fun,” Adam said of his role as Bill/Lucentio.

“It's stressful, but it is worth it,” Kristen said.

Rosco's aides also include Callie Norman as MPA — Mama's Personal Assistant.

That's a tradition that began last year, Rosco said. A student “was more worried about me than about anything else.”

Carla and Raymond's roles include stage time — she's Hattie, he's Hortensio and Stagehand No. 2.

“When we came into the musicals, the seniors helped us become what we are now,” Carla said. “It is our job to help the younger students learn the ropes like we did.”

While the senior leads may try the stage in the future, none see theater as a career.

Kristen is looking at a future in the fashion industry and may go to Kent State, Jamie plans to go to Bella Capelli Academy to learn hair styling and Zack is considering business courses at Community College of Allegheny County.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.