As with most of William Shakespeare's great works, The Taming of the Shrew has been both blessed and cursed by shifting cultural attitudes. The Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton iteration was certainly romantic (owing in no small part to that legendary couple's offscreen amour), but the film carried a tagline that spoke volumes about perceived gender roles: "In the war between the sexes, there always comes a time for unconditional surrender." Oof. Of course, times change, and 1999's charming teen flick 10 Things I Hate About You gave Shrew an updated edge. Expect great things from St. Louis Shakespeare's production of the much-loved tale, as director Todd Pieper brings his fresh vision to the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square). A classically trained actor with plenty of directing experience, former New York City dweller Pieper brings together some of St. Louis' best thespians to tell the story of sweet Bianca, her many gentlemen callers and the hired-gun suitor tasked with winning the heart of Bianca's acerbic older sister, Katherine. (Bianca can't marry, you see, until Katherine does.) Husband-for-hire Petruchio attempts to woo the skeptical Katherine, and arguments, hilarity and, yes, even true love ensue. The shrew gets tamed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (July 16 to 25) with one show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 22; tickets are $15 to $25. For more information, visit www.stlshakespeare.org or call 314-361-5664.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: July 16. Continues through July 25, 2010