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Middle Village theater returns with production of ‘Kiss Me, Kate’

Maggie’s Little Theater in Middle Village is returning after two years
Maggie’s Little Theater returns for revival of “Kiss Me, Kate.” (Photo by Tom Harmon)

Maggie’s Little Theater at St. Margaret Parish in Middle Village is returning for its first performance since it temporarily closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

Saturday, July 9, the local, nonprofit theater will show “Kiss Me, Kate,” a 1948 musical based on William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” The play has been revived on Broadway in 2019, earning four Tony Award nominations. Maggie’s Little Theater intended to do its own interpretation of “Kiss Me, Kate” in the summer of 2020. 

James Gillespie, producer and actor at the Middle Village theater, said shutting down their shows so abruptly was difficult. 

“We were in our final dress rehearsal when Governor Andrew Cuomo basically said everyone has to stop everything for a while,” Gillespie said. “We’re actors; we want to be on stage. We love our audience and we enjoy putting these productions on. We’re excited to get back on stage and do what we love to do.”

Despite New York opening back up and loosening restrictions about a year ago, Maggie’s Little Theater remained closed, waiting to see where things were going. 

“A year ago, Broadway had just started reopening, COVID rates were still high and we didn’t feel it was safe. People were still hesitant and we want to be particularly safe,” Gillespie said. “The time was right this year, but it wasn’t right last year; there was just too much uncertainty.”

Gillespie said that it’s hard to understand how an actor feels when stepping on the stage again after such a long break. 

“As an actor, you want to entertain people. You want to put a smile on somebody’s face or make them laugh,” Gillespie said. “It was two years we didn’t have that.”

The Middle Village theater will be doing its best to social distance and requires vaccinations and masks for those who attend “Kiss Me, Kate.” Typically, Maggie’s averages 150 audience members, but is expecting a lower turnout this year. 

“We’re hoping to hit those numbers again,” Gillespie said. “We just want to go out, entertain and make people happy.”

Maggie’s Little Theater has been operating since 2007, putting on two shows a year. It has previously done “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Sound of Music,” “Oklahoma!” and more. Gillespie said the theater usually likes to do well-known productions. 

In February of 2023, the theater will revive “The Mousetrap,” a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie. 

“Kiss Me, Kate” will be showing at St. Margaret Parish for the next three weekends. For more information on dates and times, visit Maggie’s Little Theater website.

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