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The Taming of the Shrew

Online program


Conceived and Adapted by Sunil Malapati

With the assistance of Chrissy Bartels, Stephanie Bussan, Terry Eckhart, Megan Gloss, Alanda Gregory, Jen Hogue, Lenore Howard, Lynda Mackie, Melissa McGuire, Michele McKinlay, Crescentia Mello, Chelsea Middendorf, Ann Pelelo, Eva Ressler, Kay Schroeder, Angela Ventris, Ora Uzel, Wendy Wilwert and Erika Wilson.



                                                Actor name        Shakespeare

  • Chrissy Hogue Bartels   Tammy               Petruchio

  • Stephanie Bussan           Amanda             Katherina

  • Terry Eckhart                   Trish                   Gremio,

  • Lenore Howard               Poggy                 Grumio,

  • Melissa McGuire             Eleanore             Baptista Minola,


  • Michele McKinlay            Mick (Director)  Tranio, Philip

  • Chelsea Middendorf       Joe                      Hortensio, Joseph

  • Angela Ventris                  Susan                 Lucentio, Curtis,

  • Ora Uzel                            Jessica                Bianca


Megan Gloss (as herself) in a cameo as the Widow.



Director                            Sunil Malapati

Technical Design            Sunil Malapati

Costumes                         Sunil Malapati,
                                           Lenore Howard,
                                           Melissa McGuire
                                           and Cast

Props                                 Melissa McGuire,
                                           Ora Uzel
                                           and Cast

Lightboard                       Amelia Foley

Video                                 Paul Kurutsides

Poster Design                  Jessica Stewart-Wagner


There is a thin line between farce and horror- think of clowns and how many kids are terrified of them. A farce demands we not take anyone in it seriously. We can laugh knowing that it is not real, not really. Think of the Three Stooges or the roadrunner and the coyote or any number of farcical characters who exist to provide us laughs. Put a realistic character in a farce and it ceases to be one- the ACME anvil that drops on the coyote is no longer funny. Katherina, the shrew in The Taming of the Shrew, feels too vital to be in a farce; what happens to her feels too raw, especially in light of the collective gaslighting we went through with the previous administration and the #metoo movement.

Yet, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is a farce, and often very funny. How do we reconcile the genial farce that surrounds Katherina’s story and the horrors inflicted on her? Shakespeare himself seems to have struggled with it, as he built an elaborate frame around the play making it explicitly a play within a play. I used a similar approach by allowing the audience to watch a troupe of actors rehearse the play, constantly reminding the audience about the artificial nature of theatre. I believe this Brechtian approach provides the necessary distance for the audience to interrogate the play.

The choice of the rehearsal dates was deliberate. The audience needs to invest in the fun before the horror starts- the first half happens on the day after the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, a day of great joy in these parts. And barely a week later, there was national shock as Trump won the 2016 election. A clown most of us laughed at was now in power and that now informs how the play is performed, especially the role of Petruchio. A charming cad whose wooing of Katherina is one of the best wooing scenes in all of Shakespeare, takes on ominous power over her after marriage.

My hope is that the play inspires discussions about gender roles, toxic masculinity and how societal disruptors use our politeness as a weapon against ourselves. An all-female cast also allowed us to pose these questions in a more nuanced way; an aggressive group of male actors would immediately trigger an antagonistic response that prevents discussion. I remain eternally grateful to the numerous women who contributed to the development of this production, including the ten extraordinary goddesses you will see on stage.


Chrissy Bartels (Tammy/ Petruchio) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication at Clarke University where she teaches students to question everything. She is also a professional actor with a recent booking in a co-star role for a major network TV show. A film she produced and plays a supporting role in has recently become an Official Selection of The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival- A Swan Song, written, co-directed, and starring her sister Jen Hogue. Chrissy is currently working on a Documentary titled “Violent Women in Film” which she has secured Nina Menkes (“Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power” 2023) for! She is first and foremost a mother, wife, daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter…woman. And she loves God with her whole freakin’ heart. 

Admired Woman in History: Olympe de Gouges


Stephanie Bussan (Amanda/ Katherina) has performed in several full length FBNP shows, the most recent being Georgette in “School for Wives”. She also participated in the FBNP Obsession/Possession two-part Shakespeare play readings of “Venus” and “Lucrece”. Stephanie is a member of FBNP Script Reading Committee, which allows her to contribute to the theater community even when she’s not in a show. Outside of theater, Stephanie has the privilege of being the guardian to two cats and a dog (no shrews).

Admired Woman in History: Tina Turner


Terry Eckhart (Trish/ Gremio, Biondello, Nicholas, Tailor, Vincentio) has been working with  FBNP since the early 80's (that's 1980's), as board member, secretary, treasurer, costume alterer, props mistress, actress, singer, stage hand, and  cleaner upper. Favorite roles were in  El Grande de Coca Cola, Cotton Patch Gospel, Into the Woods, and Fly By Night the Musical.  Other Dubuque  theater groups have grabbed my time also.  Oklahoma, Damn Yankees, Hello Dolly, and Joseph---Dreamcoat, Mame, Barnum, and Tintypes were with the Barn.  Music Box Players had a few musicals also in the 80's.  While at the Grand as a board member and then President, the Nunsense series started (always as Sr. Robert Anne)  and lasted 18 years (later at the Bell Tower). Side By Side By Sondheim was another favorite at the Grand.

Then my husband, Michael Gibson, and I had four children and priorities shifted for a while. They are William, Wade, Dana, and Drew. Then things like Brownie Scout leader, soccer coach, soccer referee, team Mom, and seamstress for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps became the norm, this while working full time as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist in a private practice founded by myself in 1981. Now retired since 2021, I get to spend more time with the non-profits Dubuque Chorale (fundraiser), Du-Ride (driver), JDIFF (secret reviewer), and still FBNP. Our first grandchild is due in May. A new chapter begins!

Admired Woman in History: Second only to my mother, is Elizabeth Blackwell MD (1821-1910). She was the first woman in the US to earn an MD degree. She also founded a medical school for women. Talk about standing your ground in a man's world!


Megan Gloss (Megan Gloss/ Widow) enjoys an active and versatile artistic career, on stage and off.

An Iowa District winner and Midwest Regional finalist of the National Association of Teachers Singer Artist Award competition, as well as an Anna Sosenko Assist Trust grant recipient for her work in opera and musical theater, Ms. Gloss’ artistic endeavors have taken her from the local stages of Dubuque’s Grand Opera House to concert halls throughout the Midwest, the sunflower fields of Tuscany, centuries-old European Cathedrals illuminated by candlelight and the rain forests of Puerto Rico.

A familiar voice in the tri-states, local audiences will recognize her from such musical theater roles as Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Amalia Balash in She Loves Me, Nettie Fowler in Carousel, Laurey in Oklahoma! Aldonza in Man of La Mancha and Alma Stossel in The Christmas Schooner. Operatic roles include Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Angelina in Trial by Jury, Lucy in The Telephone and numerous guest appearances with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, including Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute and Juliette in the previous staged adaptation of Romeo et Juliette.

This year, Ms. Gloss celebrates her 15th consecutive season as a company vocalist with Madison (Wis.) Opera, where she has performed in more than 20 operatic productions. Finding second homes there and in Chicago, Ms. Gloss also has performed with Madison’s Fresco Opera and Four Seasons theaters and studies with Jerad Mosbey, of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 2011, Ms. Gloss made her European debut, performing throughout Italy in the operatic title roles of Norma, Anna Bolena and Semiramide, as well as Alice Ford in Falstaff.

When not treading upon theatrical boards or dodging swooping bats in historic concert halls, Ms. Gloss is committed to telling the stories behind the creative community within her hometown. She is an award-winning, 20-year veteran of the Telegraph Herald, where she serves as Features Editor, facilitating coverage for arts and cultural happenings throughout the tri-states. She also serves as the Editor of Her and magazines. Additionally, she is a contributor to the internationally renowned Classical Singer magazine, the London-based VoiceCouncil magazine and the Canadian-based Vocalist magazine. Her writings on vocal technique and pedagogy have been widely referenced for doctoral dissertations and studies in vocal science.

Ms. Gloss serves on multiple artistic boards and advisory committees throughout the community.

As a Yoga Alliance RYT-200 instructor, she enjoys downtime on her yoga mat, teaching at Dubuque studios B-1 Yoga and Centrally Rooted, where she maintains a private voice studio for singers of all ages, in addition to leading yoga practices tailored toward musicians.

Admired Woman in History: Katharine Graham


Lenore Howard (Poggy/ Grumio, Pedant) 41 years ago Lenore with her husband Doug Donald co-founded Fly-By-Night Productions, a local Dubuque theatre company, for which she continues to serve as FBNP’s Artistic Director.

Over the course of her 50+ year theatre journey, she has directed over 55 plays plus special projects and has over 70 acting credits to her name. (Too many favorites to mention!) Being on-stage with actors is a different experience from directing them. And she’s grateful for the privilege to learn from and share stage with this cast, many of whom she’s had the honor to direct through the years.

Sunil, dear friend. I honor you and deeply thank you for inviting me to participate in this, your remarkable and original project that is this play.

Admired Woman in History: As to a historical woman I venerate and, with whom I share a Massachusetts connection, Abigail Adams comes to mind as she emphatically reminded her husband, John, in debating our country’s independence, “Remember the women, John!”

But it’s my mother Polly Howard (Poggy, affectionately) to whom I truly owe my admiration and gratitude.  She never said no in encouraging me to pursue whatever might feed my soul and to learn from it all.  She taught me the importance of being in and building community and developing a world view with empathy. Among many things, her devotion to our town and beyond in her civic involvement was one demonstration of that. And both my parents made clear there’s always home to come home to.


Melissa McGuire (Eleanore/ Baptista, Nathaniel) moved to Galena after directing theatre in the Chicago area for many years.  Her acting credits include Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?"  In Dubuque she has appeared in Fly-By-Night's "Marjorie Prime" and "Ten Chimneys."  She serves on their script-reading committee as well as on the Board of Directors for Fever River Puppeteers

Admired Woman in History: Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) fought for the most marginalized people as Texas state senator, having experienced racial prejudice herself as a gay dark-skinned African American. As a lawyer, she led demonstrations for the Equal Rights Amendment. She suffered from multiple sclerosis.


Michele McKinlay (Mick, the Director/ Tranio, Philip) teaches writing and literature at UD. Did a lot of theatre in the tri-state area for twenty years. Greatest joy is spending time with her two outstanding grandchildren. 

Admired Woman in History: Vivian Vance


Chelsea Middendorf (Joe/ Hortensio, Joseph) has been a part of theater locally and abroad for the last 10 years. Some of her favorites include The Vagina Monologues and The Orphan Train with the Phnom Pehn Players in Cambodia, Steel Magnolias and Almost, Maine with The Grand, and The New Sincerity and The Wishlist with Fly-by-Night. She is currently an Activity Director at Eagle Pointe Place Senior Living and spends her free days working on the family farm and seeing as much of the world as she can. Chelsea is grateful to be working with such talented actors in this production and thanks Sunil for trusting her to take on Shakespeare!

Admired Woman in History: Historically - Frida Kahlo. My history - without a doubt, my mom.


Angela Ventris (Susan/ Lucentio, Curtis, Haberdasher) enjoys writing, creating, crafting and acting. With all her creative endeavors the driving question she asks herself is “Will it make me laugh?” She has performed in several shows including Snow White in Disenchanted, Maggie Cutler in The Man Who Came to Dinner, and Diana in Lend me a Tenor. She is also a co-creator, writer and voice actor for the science fiction podcast Dick Rogers: Space Detective.

Admired Woman in History: famous Iowan Althea Sherman, who was an illustrator and ornithologist from Clayton County (where I grew up). Her drawings inspired the Iowa General Assembly to choose the American Goldfinch as the state bird!


Ora Uzel (Jessica/ Bianca) is an improvisational classical composer/pianist (M.M. DePaul University, Chicago, IL; B.A. Central College, Pella, IA), percussionist, and multi-talented artist with specialties in fire performance, ice photography, and exhibitions of her increasing collection of over 12,000 paper cranes. She also privately writes extensively, enjoys architecture, learning languages, science fiction, Dungeons & Dragons, comedy, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. She has installation and performance art experience, including founding a village and massive exhibition space at Burning Man and co-creating camps at regionals, as well as having co-managed a spiritual retreat center/camp in rural southwest Michigan for eight years.

Ora's theatrical experience includes backstage work in various capacities for over twenty plays/musicals in high school (Cedar Rapids Jefferson HS), including a performance at the International Thespian Society. She directed two short films in undergrad, including the excellent now lost mockumentary "Squirrels Attack!" She has read/voice-acted every Shakespeare play (from 2021-2022) with the online troupe The 14th Night Players. Ora has been a groundling for Macbeth, King Lear, and Cymbeline at the Globe Theater in London, UK (2001); as well as experience viewing several other plays in London & Stratford-upon-Avon (King Lear, RSC at the National Theater) around that time.

Admired Woman in History: Grace Jones


Sunil Malapati (Director) feels blessed to be trusted by this amazing group of women to continue exploring Shakespeare’s women. In Fall 2023, he adapted Shakespeare’s narrative poems in a two-part Obsession/ Possession series titled Venus and Lucrece. Sunil oversees the ambitious Dubuque Shakespeare Project exploring the entire canon at the Carnegie-Stout Library. He was seen on stage in The Tempest (Prospero), Romeo and Juliet, Mothers and Sons (which he also directed) Miss Witherspoon, and The Laramie Project among others.  He has worked in numerous roles off stage, notably directing (most recently Ten Chimneys) and sound design. He is a FBNP Board member and oversees the staged play readings. He would like to dedicate this show to his mother, the person he most admires.

Admired Woman in History: Marie Curie


Amelia Foley (Lightboard) has been working with Fly By Night Productions for three seasons. She has been the light and sound board operator for numerous productions - most recently for "The School for Wives” and “Wishlist.” She is also Fly By Night's most recent board member. Originally from Evergreen Park, IL, Amelia moved to Dubuque to study at Loras College. When not working with FBNP, you can find Amelia at St Mark Youth Enrichment as the Director of Programs. 

Admired Woman in History: A historical woman I admire is the journalist Nellie Bly. I first learned about her story while studying history in undergrad. Her work in undercover journalism is quite fascinating. She was also highly influential in creating a place for women in journalism during a time when that was practically unheard of. 


Paul Kurutsides (Video) is an ‘8 Clarke alumni, has lived in Dubuque most of his life and has a lifelong passion for video production. This is his first time providing video for a theater production. He was a cinematographer and editor for the feature length films, “Cutting Room Floor” and “Murder Party 2” as well as director for a handful of shorts films produced locally in Dubuque. The latest film he directed, which was partially filmed on Clarke campus, “In your Head” will be featured at this year’s Julien Dubuque Film Festival.

Admired Woman in History: Amelia Mary Earhart (Born July 24, 1897; disappeared July 2, 1937; declared dead January 5, 1939) was an American aviation pioneer and writer.
Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.


Jes Stewart-Wagner (Poster Design) is a Graphic Design and Studio Art major at Clarke University. As two-time Editor-in-Chief of the Tenth Muse, their technical skills and creative abilities excel both in and out of the classroom. Jes aspires to pursue their passion for the arts through meaningful job opportunities that allow for creative expression and give support to trustworthy platforms. While enjoying their time at Clarke, they look forward to what their future has to offer!

Admired Woman in History: I admire Maggie Rogers for the way in which she approaches her music and the command and grace she shows on stage. I also admire Barbara Kruger and her success through the years as both a graphic designer and studio artist.

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