Writer and Performer Angela Ingersoll Invites You To “Get Happy” and Experience Judy Garland at the Milwaukee Rep!

In an amazing performance, Angela Ingersoll invites us to celebrate the talent and spirit of American legend, Judy Garland. In a night club worthy, or even better yet, a Carnegie Hall worthy presentation, Ingersoll has created, written, and performs a song filled evening! She recounts Judy’s life, loves, struggles, and triumphs in a very personal conversation with the audience. And besides Judy’s story, we’ll learn about Ingersoll and why she relates to Garland and how she came to put together this show. Done with all of the drama, humor, and music that we should expect.

Get Happy cast and crew courtesy of the Milwaukee Rep

So, yes, this is a close and intimate production…just how intimate? Well, in the Stackner we all feel close to the stage. And Ingersoll is supported by a very adept and agile piano trio of Jeff Hamman on string bass, Charles Heath on percussion, and Chuck Larkin (May 5 – 15) and Jeremy Kahn (May 15 – July 1) on piano. And they are positioned right there behind her. And (spoiler alert), there’s the on stage dressing room where Ingersoll completes one costume change per act during the evening while continuing to regale us with the story.

Angela Ingersoll center, Charles Heath on percussion, Jeff Hamann on bass, courtesy of the Milwaukee Rep

And beyond the apparent physical similarities to Garland, Ingersoll has obviously studied Garland’s physical movements and vocal stylings and gives us an incredible performance. For those of us old enough to remember Garland’s various appearances on mid-20th Century television, the memories will be quite intense. For the rest of us, the show will give us a glimmer of what it might have been like to see Garland in person and the chance to experience an exciting night of song and theater here at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

Chuck Larkin on piano with Angela Ingersoll, courtesy of the Milwaukee Rep

This show was nominated for an Emmy award after being broadcast on PBS. And it will continue its run at the Stackner Cabaret at the Rep through July 1st. Additional information and ticket info here. Approximate running time: 2 Hours and 10 Minutes including intermission. Recommended Age: 12 and up.

And don’t miss a chance to eat dinner at the Stackner as well. In most cases you will be seated at the same table where you will see the show. Dining information and menu here.

And the online program is HERE!

Angela Ingersoll in Get Happy, courtesy of the Milwaukee Rep

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Opens The Season With Laughs, Songs, AND….The Green Bay Packers!

In Wisconsin, what could possibly be a more appropriate opening offering for the fall season than Matt Zembrowski’s Dad’s Season Tickets in the Stackner Cabaret? And given the factual, anecdotal, and certainly apocryphal stories ranging across the state about how season tickets pass through to the next generation, what a perfect conceit for a musical in Packers nation!

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

So here we are in a living room implicit as the middle class living room where every Wisconsinite watches their Packers, hey. And although the furnishings look more 1970s that 1996 when the action takes place, certainly a lot of 1970s living rooms tarried into the late 1990s, particularly as Cheeseheads aged in place. You will recognize home and feel immediately comfortable.

And….it’s Packer season and we meet Frank Kosinski who, after three years of mourning his late wife, has come to realize that family and family traditions are more important than where he’s been emotionally most recently. And he has three daughters: two adult, married, and out of the nest, and Cordelia. Cordelia is still at home and preparing for going away to college. And if you want a little sneaky insight into where we are going, Mr. Zembrowski is having a little theatrical fun: check out Cordelia here!

You are going to love the Kosinskis. And you will wonder why there is a troubling layer of discord in the family, particularly between the adult daughters. BUT…the underlying issue in our play, IS, who will inherit Frank’s Packers Season Tickets? He can only will them to one individual! All will be revealed via some cliche family squabbles, entertaining and encouraging songs, and Cordelia’s determination to bring happiness to her father as she prepares to leave by enabling his dream to reunite the family.

The casting here couldn’t have been better. We have the gamut of Packers adherents and lifelong Wisconsinites. You will love Jonathan Gillard Daly as the long suffering newly optimistic Frank Kosinski. His love of the Packers, his memory of their history, and his inherited season tickets are all you need to know until you get there. And, for me, Jamie Mercado. is the stand out actor in her role as Cordelia, as she plans and plots the reuniting of her sisters without knowing the whole story around the discord. And the most intriguing outsider is Edgar Nimwitz (read the last name again, out loud) ably played by Jackson Evans for every laugh and horror handed him in the text!

You will laugh openly. You will wonder how we got here. You will remember the Packer glory years. You will get to boo. You should wear your Packer swag. And there will be secret uncovered that should never ever happen in Green Bay! And given that it is 1996, our playwright ‘predicts’ the future! See if you can catch it.

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

And before you go, you may want to bone up on your Packer history from Curly Lambeau to Vince Lombardi to Mike Holmgren and the 1996 Packer season. And as I said previously, you won’t feel uncomfortable attending in your Reggie White, etc, jersey!!

One last thing before I go “Viking fans don’t get back up singers”!