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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 20, 2004

No business like shrew business for Cathy Foy

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Cathy Foy and Buz Tennent are the leads in "Kiss Me, Kate."

Cast and chorus rehearse at Richardson Theatre for the show, opening Thursday.

'Kiss Me, Kate'

A musical by Cole Porter

Premieres at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday; repeats at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through March 13

Richardson Theatre, Fort Shafter

$14, $17 for adults; $8, $10 for children

438-4480, www.squareone.org/ACT

Cathy Foy knows a good role when it comes down the pike. Why else would she sink her teeth into the title character in "Kiss Me, Kate," the beloved Cole Porter musical opening Thursday at the Army Community Theatre's Richardson Theatre ... a second time?

The Tony-Award-winning favorite, inspired by Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," features a bickering couple, a play within a play, a lot of screeching and tantrum-throwing ... and all those wunderbar Porter tunes: "Another Op'nin' Another Show," "So in Love," "Too Darn Hot" and "From This Moment On."

"When I first did the role at HPU (Hawai'i Pacific University), my husband Aaron (Aaron Mahi, conductor of the Royal Hawaiian Band), said they picked the perfect shrew," said Foy.

She laughed — and answered Five Questions:

Q. You've played Kate before and won a Po'okela Award. How easy is it to go down the same path again, yet breathe freshness in the role for you and audience?

A. "The chance to do it all over again makes it all the more enjoyable. I had so much fun performing Kate/Lilli at HPU (two years ago) that I was grateful to have the opportunity to reprise the roles. By doing so, this allows me the chance to add a lot more color and depth to the part."

Q. Why are you attracted to Kate and this show?

A. "I love the music. The songs feel so good to sing, from a singer's standpoint. I truly believe 'Kiss Me, Kate' is an operetta. Cole Porter's music is wonderful to sing; it's a happy musical with memorable, toe-tapping tunes and everyone leaves the theater humming the songs and smiling. And that's what attracted me — because the fact of playing the shrew allows me to reach for characterizations that bring out the strength and fun of the role. It's a very, very physical role with a lot of yelling and throwing of things. And the script is witty." (She chuckles).

"Also, we have a young but energetic cast; I believe some future 'American Idols,' too. And Buz Tennent is a wonderful Petruchio. And I get to work with Tricia Marciel again; we were double-cast at HPU but she is Bianca now and absolutely sparkling in the show."

Q. You've performed in New York and still maintain roots in Honolulu? How tough is it to make theater a livelihood in both cities?

A. "I'm fortunate to be able to work as a singer quite steadily here in Honolulu and the Neighbor Islands. Theater in Hawai'i is really something I do for love. It's how I hone my craft. When opportunities arise in New York, I will take advantage. But it's tough (to find the right shows)." (She sighs).

Q. What else have you been doing?

A. "I entertain part time on the Norwegian Star; I also work for Tihati Productions. And I also sing with the Royal Hawaiian Band. Doing a show like this demands a lot of sacrifice. The reward? It's nice to look into the audience and see lots of smiles and no question marks. And more fulfilling — you actually see members of the audience singing along."

Q. Being married to Aaron Mahi ... is music very big on the home front?

A. "Aaron is probably the busiest person I know. When we have the opportunity to work together, we do collaborate. I often look to him for advice and also help in proper pronunciation or interpretation of Hawaiian songs.

"He is helping me with my recording, which is a compilation of love songs which hopefully will be out by end of this year. I want to do love songs by well-known Hawaiian composers, like 'Kamehameha Waltz' by Charles E. King. And I want to do 'Ke Kali Nei Au,' with Aaron singing the man's part. We don't talk music that much at home, though he's really helping me with the album, doing the arrangements. It's going to be simple, with piano accompaniment by Alethea Train."

Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com, 525-8067 or fax 525-8055.