PSA: UWM’s New Dramaworks: Short Play Festival

I wish I could fit this into my schedule…sigh

Bold, funny, moving, provocative, original and fresh! View the world we’re living in today through the eyes of some of the newest emerging voices in the American Theatre. The premiere of what will be an ongoing feature of the Theatre Department season, this New Dramaworks series celebrates a collection of original, short dramatic work by UWM students and others that stimulates the imagination and prompts deep conversations.

Directed by UWM Theatre Students
Mentored by Ralph Janes
Curated by Alvaro Saar Rios

Festival Lineup

Written by: Lee Hunt
Majors: Conservation & Environmental Science; Theatre Practices

Written by: Joe Klockenkemper
Major: Theatre Education

The Elephant
Written by: Mara Grigg
Major: Theatre Practices

Game Day
Written by: Lia Smith
Majors: Dance; English

Star Stories
Written by: Cat Sadler
Major: Acting

The Greatest Detective
Commissioned play written by: Maria Pretzl ’14
Degrees: BFA, Film: Production; BA: Theatre Studies

The Uncomfortable Truth of Being Known
Written by: Matt Swihart
Major: English-Creative Writing

Until I Join the Earth
Written by: Eugene Strei
Major: Acting: Musical Theatre

April 17–20, 2024 (7:30–9:30 p.m.) April 21, 2024 (2–4 p.m.) at Kenilworth Square East, Kenilworth Five-0-Eight

More INFO and TICKETS!!!

PSA: Once Upon A Mattress Opens April 24th At UWM’s Peck School Of The Arts!

Once Upon a Mattress
Apr 24-28, 2024 – Mainstage Theatre
Directed by Sheri Williams Pannell
Music by Mary Rodgers
Lyrics by Marshall Barer
Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer
Once Upon a Mattress, a comic masterpiece based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Princess and the Pea, propelled Carol Burnett to stardom as Winnifred the Woebegone, a simple swamp princess hoping to win the hand of the prince despite all odds. This hilariously wacky romp is filled with witty, charming, and wonderfully romantic songs and dance numbers composed by Mary Rodgers. It serves as a delightful bookend to a season that began with a neglected gem by her father, Richard Rodgers.


You on the Moors Now At UW-Milwaukee’s Department of Theater.

Jaclyn Backhaus riffs off the characters from Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, and Anne and Charlotte Bronte and produces an absolutely smart and hilarious farce. Our characters are four of your favorite women from Pride and PrejudiceWuthering HeightsJane Eyre, and Little Women and the their ardent suitors. From the starting point of the novels and the romantic standards of the time, four men ardently pursue four women and propose and…are ardently turned down! That’s not how it’s supposed to work.

And after espousing more contemporary ideas on romance, love, and marriage, there is nothing left for our heroines to do other than band together and then flee! And true to their nature, our suitors follow in hot pursuit. So given the nature of the novels there are twists and turns and misunderstandings and a variety of misconceptions.

And pursuit results in confrontation and an actual battle of the sexes…and it’s all fun and games until an actual bodice gets ripped…by a knife…and a heroine dies on stage. That seems to bring everyone to their senses and on to:

Chapter 33: A Tenth Annual reunion at Pemberley which is now a museum that documents these events and the Truce of Pemberley. All of the principals attend but unlike the prior scenes, the period is much more contemporary, the conversation far more natural to our ears at least, with the 19th Century lost in the rear view mirror. And Jane Eyre is now an astronaut!

Director Jeffrey Mosser, a department lecturer in storytelling and acting, has assembled an incredible cast from the theater department, and they all play their characters to the hilt! And he has them playing the humor as over the top as possible…and I am sure this Darcy (Duleon Schneider) is a fopier fop than the real Darcy would have ever hoped to be!

And the stage was a trove of information…and not just the props…but the false proscenium arch to the rear that supported a screen where the acts were named and the locations were outlined…so we knew when we were at Wuthering Heights!

© 2024 Ed Heinzelman

Two minor quibbles: The actors were speaking with period accents and quite quickly. It was difficult to understand what was being said at times. And this is a farce and there was a great deal of laughter…but the cast wasn’t prepared to wait it out and some dialogue was lost in laughing. And I apologize for the lack of photos this time.

So from last fall’s Macbeth to You on the Moors Now the theater department of UW – Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts proves that they can do it all!

Partly through my lack of knowledge of 19th C literature, I got lost a few times on who is who. But here is the cast list from the Program (which can be found here ).

article © 2024 The New World Digs