PSA: It’s MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE’s 50th Anniversary, And Here’s How They Plan To Celebrate With Their 2024/2025 Season!

From our friends, at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre:

“Fifty seasons is a unique and special accomplishment for a performing arts organization of any size, and we’re thrilled and honored to be celebrating it,” says Artistic Director Brent Hazelton. “‘Past, Present, and Future’ feels like an apt theme for an anniversary season, and each of the plays in our 24/25 season focuses on characters examining what has come before to better understand their present in order to build a better tomorrow. We’re thrilled to kick off MCT’s next five decades as we celebrate the legacies of MCT’s founders Montgomery Davis and Ruth Schudson and the leadership of Michael Wright and Kirsten Finn that built MCT into the company that we know and love today.”

Over the past five seasons, MCT has continued its five-decade commitment to strengthening and developing Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s professional artist community while also reflecting the region’s rich cultural diversity at every level of the organization through productions of exceptional plays rooted in rich text from unique voices and perspectives.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) Artistic Director Brent Hazelton and Managing Director Megwyn Sanders-Andrews, Ph.D., are excited to announce MCT’s 50th Anniversary 2024-2025 season. MCT celebrates this remarkable milestone with a season of reimagined timeless classics, crowd-pleasing favorites, a Milwaukee premiere, and must-see plays from two of America’s greatest living playwrights. The 2024-2025 subscription season—themed “Past, Present, and Future”­—is comprised of:


by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare 

Directed by MCT Artistic Director Brent Hazelton 

Featuring Kellen “Klassik” Abston and N’Jameh Russell-Camara 

September 19 – October 6, 2024 

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center Goodman Mainstage Hall 

A Modern Take On A Timeless Classic | A lone Poet, exhausted from the front lines of history’s epic wars and aided only by a single Muse, steps onto an empty stage and weaves a tale filled with honor and hubris, fortitude and fallibility, and righteousness and blind rage. Intimate, urgent, and incisive, this modern retelling—adapted from Robert Fagles’ gold-standard translation and featuring a live score from Milwaukee’s own Klassik—hones Homer’s epic to a gleaming edge as captivating as it is timeless. 

by Lynn Nottage 

Directed by Dimonte Henning 

Featuring Bryant Bentley, Lachrisa Grandberry, Justin Huen, N’Jameh Russell-Camara, and more to be announced 

November 8 – November 24, 2024 

Broadway Theatre Center Studio Theatre 

2022 Tony Award Nominee for Best Play 

Milwaukee Premiere | From the director of last season’s smash hit THE MOUNTAINTOP comes two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s new “flavor-bomb of a comedy” (Variety), that’s “a spicy feast for the senses” (Chicago Sun Times). In a diner kitchen that might be hell, limbo, or just a greasy spoon off the Pennsylvania turnpike, four formerly incarcerated cooks strive for redemption through their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich—all under the devilish gaze of their hard-driving boss. CLYDE’S combines uproarious humor, fulsome heart, and generous hospitality into a delicious theatrical meal that shows why Nottage is among America’s greatest living playwrights.  

by Henrik Ibsen, in a new version by Amy Herzog 

Directed by MCT Artistic Director Brent Hazelton 
Featuring Joshua Krause and more to be announced 

January 24 – February 9, 2025 
Broadway Theatre Center Studio Theatre 

2023 Tony Award Nominee for Best Revival 
2023 Drama Desk Award Winner for Best Adaptation 

Classic Masterpiece | For only the second time in 50 years, world-changing dramatist Henrik Ibsen appears in an MCT season! His most famous play, presented here in a compact, devastatingly contemporary, and celebrated new adaptation, shocked audiences and ushered in a new era of theater when it premiered in 1879. Culminating in what George Bernard Shaw described as “the door slam heard round the world,” today it continues to unsparingly examine the difference between being married and living in a true marriage. 

by Duncan McMillan and Johnny Donahoe 

Featuring Elyse Edelman and more to be announced 

February 27 – March 16, 2025  

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center Goodman Mainstage Hall 

Warm-Hearted Favorite | 1: Ice cream. 2: Kung Fu movies. 3: Staying up past your bedtime to watch TV…and those are just the start of a list of every brilliant thing that makes life worth living created through this luminous mix of theater and stand-up. Described by The Guardian as “one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression—and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop,” this well-loved coming-of-age story celebrates each of our capacities to delight in the little things and our resilience in going further than we think we can for those we love. 


by Suzan-Lori Parks 
Featuring Dimonte Henning and Chiké Johnson 

April 25 – May 11, 2025  

Broadway Theatre Center Studio Theatre 

2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 

2023 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play 

Modern Classic | In this Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece by “the most consistently inventive, and venturesome, American dramatist working today” (New York Times), brothers Lincoln and Booth struggle for the upper hand as they grapple with unresolved inheritances and how to play the cards they’ve been dealt. At once a rollicking portrait of sibling rivalry, a probing exploration of the complexity of family, and a resonant allegory of American identity, this can’t miss production will have you howling with laughter one moment and on the edge of your seat the next. 

MCT will perform CLYDE’S, A DOLL’S HOUSE, and TOPDOG/UNDERDOG in the Broadway Theatre Center’s familiar 95-seat Studio Theatre and will perform AN ILIAD and EVERY BRILLIANT THING in the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center’s (MYAC) Goodman Mainstage Hall, an inviting 152-seat in-the-round venue. Each production has been matched with its respective venue to take best advantage of their seating orientations in order to deliver thrillingly intimate experiences for audiences.

Single tickets will go on sale on August 1. For additional information about subscription packages, please visit or call 414-276-8842.

Escape From Peligro Island, A Create Your Own Adventure Play @ First Stage!

Those of you who have followed my comments on the offerings from Milwaukee’s First Stage Youth Theater know that many of their presentations feature alternating casts. So your experience may differ from mine in significant ways.

But with Escape From Peligro Island, First Stage and Playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer have designed a unique experience into the script for each and every audience. You are guaranteed a different experience to mine. And how do they accomplish that? Well at significant plot points, the audience is offered alternative choices and they get to vote on which path to travel…so each audience member receives a Card Of Destiny as you enter the theater and you can vote for your preferred alternative by holding up your card, showing the Pink side or the Green side. And the cast heads off in the selected direction! So from one performance to the next, you will never get the same show. Escape From Peligro Island is a thing of wonder and adventure! Awesome.

And yes, Escape From Peligro Island, does feature two casts, The Destiny Cast and The Chance cast. The two casts share two adult actors, Matt Daniels and Shammen McCune who play multiple roles and I am guessing those roles differ depending on the election of the audience.

Charlie Cornell as Callaway Brown foreground and Matt Daniels, Photo Courtesy of First Stage, Paul Ruffolo photographer.

The initial story will be basically the same…the one named character is Callaway Brown…and Callaway remains a constant throughout but it is his adventures that we are determining. Almost immediately, while traveling from his mother’s home to visit his father many miles away, Callaway experiences a weirdo in the airport’s waiting area who proves to be an eerie enigma who quickly runs off leaving Callaway with a mysterious box and the wrong airplane ticket…and we make our first decision and launch poor Callaway off on his big adventure.

Now, I can’t actually give the story away because it will travel hither and yon depending on you…but Kruckemeyer must be the eternal youth of legend as Escape From Peligro Island finds all of the cute sayings of youth, pulls great puns out of midair, and presents a myriad of adventures out of our childhood dreams. It sounds so easy and childlike but it is an amazingly complex construction.

One constant feature of First Stage presentations are short talk backs (question and answer periods) after the play where the cast takes turns fielding questions from the youngsters in the audience. Now, one very astute audience member asked the cast how they managed to learn all of the different parts and keep them straight. Yes, indeed, that too was at the forefront of my thoughts as the play came to an end. The cast said it was from four weeks of rehearsal and lots of practice.

Now I don’t know the precise answer exactly, but I am certain it was through some sort of sorcery employed by director Jeff Frank. Besides the variant story lines and two adult actors plus Callaway Brown, there are five other youth actors who work as narrators and vote tabulators and any number of characters dependent on the path being taken. I would have a hard time keeping track of that in my head much less imparting it to twelve different actors. And then to support the action, Scenic Designer Kristin Ellert did a marvelous job providing modular set pieces that too played multiple roles and then there were a few that remained unused…apparently waiting their turn in a parallel universe.

Photo Courtesy of First Stage, Paul Ruffolo photographer.

But oh, wait. There are a number of small puppets or dolls that help us tell the story…I can’t explain exactly what they do or how they are employed because that might spoil some of the story…but the are cute as the dickens…and a clever clever means of advancing the story and supporting the action! Thank you Adriana Hollenbeck!! And First Stage has always set a very high bar when it comes to bright and engaging costuming that contributes to the story telling…and Jazmin Aurora Medina has done an outstanding job here…particularly with the various costumes for Matt Daniels various roles. And Lighting Designer Tim Thistleton also brings his A game with bringing the adventures on Peligro Island to life with the limited palette available at the Goodman.

And there’s a THEME SONG!

I was lucky to get to see this on opening weekend…and it was a very well attended show. And I think a lot of theatergoers will revisit so they can experience another pass into adventure. So don’t put off planning your visit. Escape From Peligro Island runs through June 2, 2024. It is being presented at First Stage’s black box theater in the round, the Goodman Mainstage Hall, at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center! Suggested ages: 5 to adult!t oh

Click HERE for tickets and more information!

And Extra Credit Reading: Playbill with a listing of both casts! and Enrichment Guide

PSA: First Stage’s Young Company Presents: LITTLE WOMEN

Details and Ticket Information at THIS LINK but the over view is below:

 First Stage’s Young Company will present LITTLE WOMEN, a modern-retelling of the classic novel by award-winning, contemporary playwright Kate Hamill, adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott“Kate Hamill has made a name for herself by writing ingeniously wrought stage versions of popular 19th-century novels that treat their source material with mischievous freedom,” commented The Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout. The play is directed by popular Milwaukee actor,director and First Stage alum Karen Estrada, recently seen on stage in First Stage’s charming production CARMELA FULL OF WISHES. This fresh adaptation of the beloved book centers around the women of the March family. Jo March isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She’s ruthless and headstrong, and destined to be a great American novelist. As Jo and her sisters grow up in the middle of the Civil War, they strive to be brave, intelligent and imaginative young women, while reconciling their own ambitions with society’s expectations. Alcott’s celebrated coming-of-age novel comes to stage in this modern and relevant adaptationSponsored by United Performing Arts Fund

LITTLE WOMEN runs March 24 – April 2, 2023 in the newly renovated, theater-in-the-round Goodman Mainstage Hall, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $15. Tickets are available online at or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately two hours and 15 minutes with a brief intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 12+. 

From Director of the Young Company Matt Daniels: “Kate Hamill’s adaptation of this essential American story manages to be startlingly modern even as it explores a long-gone era. This play is about whip-smart, resilient, sparkling young women looking to make their mark on a world that may not be ready for them. Sounds like an ideal match for YC’s excellent performers! This version of the story is intimate, beautiful and surprising, just as Alcott’s novel is to anyone who picks it up for the first time.” 

Added Director Karen Estrada: “Everyone identifies with a character in Little Women. Those who love the story can endlessly debate character choices and events from the book; furthering that with spirited discussion regarding which of the many, many adaptations best capture these classic scenes. Fans of Alcott’s Little Women have done so across all the years, languages and cultures that have access to the story. They sympathize because the March sisters and their friends’ coming-of-age story elements are both familiar and beautifully composed; they are learning how they identify as young adults and doing so while balancing their place in the wider world, within their family dynamic and against their own ambitions. Their stories are funny and heartbreaking and confusing and poignant. These actors (and to some extent all of us) are in that place too – learning who they are and who they want to be in the wide world. The story is immediate and timeless, intimate yet funny and absolutely lovely.”  

This is a Young Company Performance Project – an actor-driven presentation using elemental production values. By stripping down to a nearly bare stage, the connection of actor to audience is enhanced, and the words of the play come alive in exciting ways, allowing First Stage’s award-winning students to showcase their graduate level skills with full-length material, from Shakespeare to American classics to pieces commissioned specially for them. 

What: First Stage’s Young Company presents: LITTLE WOMEN 

By Kate Hamill 

Adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott 

Directed by Karen Estrada 

Director of the Young Company Matt Daniels 

Sponsored by United Performing Arts Fund 

Location: Goodman Mainstage Hall, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee 

Live Performances: March 24 – April 2, 2023 


• Friday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. 

• Saturday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.  

• Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m.  

• Friday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. – PAY WHAT YOU CHOOSE PERFORMANCE 

• Saturday, April 1 at 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.  

• Sunday, April 2 at 3:30 p.m.  

Ticket and information: Tickets are $15. Call (414) 267-2961 or online at: 

Little Women Trailer: