PSA: The Milwaukee Repertory Theater Announces Their Movable Feast…I Mean Their 2024/2025 season!

Here’s the link to their webpage outlining the new season (although I am including snippets below) and here is the link to order subscription tickets!!! There are a number of subscription options so read carefully.

Join us for 12 world-class productions, three of which will take will take place off-site while the new Associated Bank Theater Center is under construction. 

For our 2024/25 Season we are excited to offer 12 productions that are sure to entertain and inspire. Discover remarkable performances, soul-shaking rhythms, fresh takes on classics and bold world premieres. This season includes:

  • * A World Premiere musical based off the Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony-nominated play by Craig Lucas, Prelude to a Kiss: The Musical.
  • * Two World Premiere musicals created by Artistic Director Mark Clements in the Stackner Cabaret – Women of Rock and The Craic.
  • * A Studio Season with the regional premiere of The Coast Starlight direct from Lincoln Center and a bilingual play, Espejos: Clean.
  • * The acclaimed London West End production of The Woman in Black with its stellar British cast
Don’t miss Milwaukee’s favorite holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol celebrating its 49th Anniversary in the historic Pabst Theater with Rep favorite Matt Daniels returning as Ebenezer Scrooge.

and extra credit reading: information on the rebuilding of the Rep spaces and their capital campaign can be found here.

article © 2024 The New World Digs

Milwaukee Rep’s Guys On Ice: Waiting For Godot In Snowmobile Suits.

This past arctic week aside, the current state of winter in Wisconsin has seen unusually warm temperatures and local lakes that have remained unfrozen later into the season than normal. So ice fisher folk have been restrained in celebrating their seasonal sport. If you are one of these…or more likely someone like me who grew up in a rural area that crowded around a prominent lake and watched in awe and wonder as shanties blossomed across the ice…well, get your mojo back with some tickets to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Guys On Ice, order a Leinies and settle in for fun, merriment, and amazement in the Stackner Cabaret!

How ’bout dem Packers?

Guys On Ice is a rollicking comedy and musical about everything that is good…and bad…about ice fishing culture in the upper Midwest, with an abundant dash of Packer mania thrown in. If you have ever lived in Wisconsin or environs, you will find plenty to love here and may see something of yourself or your community here as well.

Steve M Koehler as Lloyd and Doug Mancheski as Marvin. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Marvin and Lloyd are long time friends, fishing buddies, and Door County denizens who are off for a day of ice fishing in Marvin’s shanty somewhere out in Green Bay. Marvin is played by Doug Mancheski who represents a north woods ice fisherman to a T and may have actually had hands on experience from what he brings to his portrayal of Marvin. But then his over the top mimicry of the Las Vegas Elvis, his ‘fluid’ dance moves, and his impeccable singing voice are highlights here.

Lloyd is the calmer cool head although as the story unfolds that should come as something of a surprise. Lloyd is played by Steve M Koehler, a tall impressive actor with a voice to match. But he humors Marvin’s dreams and plans and shares his own incredible voice to the songs at hand. His beer can tossing skills are to be admired as well.

Lloyd, Ernie (Dan Klarer) and Marvin. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Where else are you going to find a musical paean to snow mobile suits?

Surprisingly, Guys On Ice isn’t all fun and games. There is a fair amount of angst and reflection on life, love, and human existence. Both men have problems around their personal lives and love interests that eventually find tentative resolutions.

And then there’s the irrepressible Dan Klarer as Ernie, Ernie the moocher, as Lloyd and Marvin describe him on a number of occasions. And Ernie lives up to the name…but he also contributes to the hijinks and humor that Guys On Ice is noted for.

Ernie, Lloyd, and Marvin Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

And it is suggested that when you die and go to ice fishing heaven, that maybe you have to spend a few days in Algoma first. And all apologies to Algoma.

Guys On Ice is written by Fred Alley and has amused audiences for years hither and yon. At the Rep, James Kaplan does the music and Jeffrey Herbst is the director and choreographer.

And Godot? Spoiler alert! Marvin has been in contact with a TV fishing show host who Marvin is expecting to visit Lloyd and himself at the shanty. One of the reasons he invited Lloyd along on this particular day. Great songs and great humor results in the anticipation…but it never happens.

And the Bears still suck!

Guys On Ice runs through March 17th, 2024 at the Stackner Cabaret. More information and ticket ordering here!

article © 2024 The New World Digs

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Launches The Holiday Season with Nuncrackers!

Yes, Nuncrackers, and it’s exactly what you think it is. The hilarious and slightly dysfunctional nuns of Nunsense are poised to bring you a portion of the Nutcracker ballet with pink tutus at the ready…but sudden disaster and hilarity ensues!

Do you need to have seen the original Nunsense to understand Nuncrackers? Heavens no! Like any successful sequel, author and composer, Dan Goggin has made sure that the characters are re-introduced and that any required story from Nunsense is back filled here. And quite frankly, I think that Nuncrackers might be even funnier if you don’t have knowledge of the original and come into the theater without any expectations or preconceived notions. But maybe that’s just me.

So here we are in the basement of the convent at Mount Saint Helen’s School, as Sister Mary Paul, Sister Mary Hubert, Sister Robert Anne, and Sister Mary Regina prepare to tape a Christmas show in their new TV studio for a public access channel. And they are being assisted by Father Virgil…not necessarily ably assisted but enthusiastically so!

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

The action revolves around the nuns presenting Christmas carols and some new songs that riff off of Christmas carols. There is an incredible amount of humor to be mined here! And in between the singing and dancing…Mr. Goggin has sprinkled in a generous supply of jokes, puns, and little skits. The front facing story is a lot, lot of fun!

There are a number of side bars here…they happen off stage and are relayed by our favorite nuns…or they are translated for us from several interrupting phone calls delivered by a black rotary dial wall phone. The phone and the mention of public access television, for me, was a bit of humor on its own since those are things are so very last century!

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Fortunately for Milwaukee audiences, director and choreographer Kelley Faulkner understands the gags and songs and nuisances to a tee and has assembled the perfect ensemble to bring us the Little Sisters of Hoboken and of course Father Virgil! This troupe plays together like they have been a team for years. The rhythms and timing of the jokes is as quick and sure as the songs and dance numbers. All of the principles are remarkable in their roles. And after reading their bios in the playbill, I was amazed that three of our five actors have appeared on other local stages but are debuting at the Rep…and our other two intrepid nuns are debuting here as well. After this performance, I am sure that we will be able to enjoy their work in future Rep presentations for years to come.

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Seth K Hale is Father Virgil…a role of a very humble and disarming priest but obviously inspired to assist the nuns to the best of his ability…and he is something of a ham as well. Hale embodies the character through and through.

As Sister Mary Regina, Ashley Ovidedo is an absolute scene stealer. An infectious presence on stage, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone adopt the character so absolutely as Oviedo does here. It was a literal thrill to watch.

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

And my goodness, the song and dance chops of Katie Kallaus as Sister Mary Paul, Meka King as Sister Mary Hubert, and Isabel Quintero as Sister Mary Regina are flawless…add to that their comedic gifts…and you have the perfect Nuncrackers! I really think that this is one show where the actors are having more fun than the audience.

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Now, without being too much the spoiler, three things to watch for. The arrival of the Three Kings, the dueling sugar plum fairies, and the puppet. I hadn’t been promised a puppet, so I was amazed and pleased at its appearance.

Nuncrackers is my recommended start for this holiday season! And arrive early and have dinner and a refreshing beverage!!

Nuncrackers runs through January 7, 2024 at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Stackner Cabaret. But this is an extremely popular musical, so don’t dawdle on acquiring tickets. You can do that HERE!

Extra Credit Reading: The Program