UMT Opens Season with ‘Kiss Me, Kate’

Utah Musical Theatre kicks off a new season June 17 at Peery’s Egyptian Theater (2415 Washington Blvd.) with “Kiss Me, Kate,” an entertaining comedy with a Broadway feel.

The musical focuses on the cast members of a production of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” who mirror the characters they play.

“When you get right down to it, it’s about showbiz folks doing showbiz things,” said Bruce Cohen, the show’s director as well as UMT’s artistic and managing director. “It’s that universal, mythical theater experience.”

Unique to the UMT production are a few casting nuances. Cohen combined several parts into two characters, giving the production a third romantic couple to represent the audience’s point of view.

He also cast the two gangster parts, traditionally male roles, as women. Ginger Simons, who plays “first man,” enjoys the opportunity to play an unconventional female role. “It’s really fun,” she said. “We use our feminine powers as gangster women to get what we need, to harass people.”

Jessica Perry, who plays the other gangster, added that she was skeptical at first but has come around. “The play makes more sense now,” Perry said. “Maybe they should have been women originally.”

Both Simons and Perry are Weber State University graduates from Utah. Other locals who are back at UMT this season for “Kiss Me, Kate” include former executive director of the Ogden Chamber of Commerce Bernie Diamond, whose resume includes films such as “Baptists at our Barbeque” and “Charlie,” and Justin Ivie, who is an equity actor and regular with the Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City.

“Kiss Me, Kate” opens June 17 at 7:30 p.m. and continues on June 18, 28, 30, and July 2, 6 and 8 at Peery’s Egyptian Theater. Individual tickets are $20 adults, $16 senior citizens and $10 WSU students. Tickets are available by calling (801) 626-8500 or (800) WSU-TIKS, or at the door one hour prior to the performance. For more information visit Season subscriptions for the complete 2005 UMT season are available for $45.


Bruce Cohen, UMT artistic and managing director
(801) 626-7775 ·
Cast list:



Travis Clemens, office of Media Relations
(801) 626-7948 ·