From our friends at First Stage comes this announcement about their third season of their AMPLIFY BIPOC PLAY SERIES! (-Featuring three play readings by BIPOC playwrights Shá Cage, José Casas and Idris Goodwin-)

 First Stage, one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families, is delighted to announce the third season of their Amplify BIPOC Play Series beginning August 13, 2022. In support of First Stage’s ongoing commitment to the development of new work, with an intentional focus on lifting voices of underrepresented playwrights and artists, this season’s Amplify Series will be presented as readings of three new plays, to be held at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center and other community locations. A talkback will follow each reading, allowing audiences opportunities to share their voices with the playwright and artists – helping shape the development of the plays and potential future productions at First Stage. Commented First StageArtistic Director Jeff Frank, “We’re excited to continue our investment in new play development and in lifting up the voices of underrepresented artists. We also look forward to engaging our audiences in conversation about the work as we consider selections for future seasons.”  

The Amplify Series launched virtually in the spring of 2021 during the pandemic and featured the world premiere virtual productions of COPPER HORNS IN WATER by First Stage alum Ty Defoe and UNMUTED by First Stage Resident Playwright Alvaro Saar Rios and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma. A second Amplify Series was offered virtually in the fall of 2021 and included the world premiere virtual productions of HOW TO ACTUALLY GRADUATE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD by Nikkole Salter, STEP KIDS by Tyrone L. Robinson and Postell Pringle and THE TALE OF LA LLORONA AS TOLD BY CONSUELO CHAVEZ by José Casas. These virtual productions were all well received, both critically and with audiences, and reflected First Stage’s commitment to commissioning work by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) whose voices offer the organization an opportunity to expand its artistic horizons and develop its audience’s perspective. All productions were offered for free to viewing and in-person audiences.  

HIDDEN HEROES By Shá Cage Based on the book Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA by Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris. Published by ABDO Publishing, Minneapolis, MN.  Copyright © 2017 Directed by Samantha D. Montgomery Presented as part of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival 

Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.  Milwaukee Youth Arts Center Sunday August 14, 2002 at 1 p.m. Location TBD

“It doesn’t matter what you look like, what your size is, what your color is. You can be anything you want to, but you do have to work at it,” says Annie Easley’s mother to her young daughter. In the 1950s and ’60s, the black women of NASA fought against racial and gender discrimination for a place on the leading edge of math, science and technology. Be inspired as we tell the stories of how these women were influenced as young girls to eventually make critical contributions that launched U.S. astronauts into space and returned them safely back to Earth. For families with young people ages 7 and up.

FRANKIE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF A GURL FRANKENSTEIN By José Casas Originally Commissioned by Florida Studio Theatre

Saturday October 15, 2022 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m Milwaukee Youth Arts Center  Sunday October 16, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. Location TBD 

Inspired by Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, playwright José Casas transforms this timeless story through the prism of Francesca Frankenstein, a brilliant young girl who, in her quest for a friend, plans a one-of-a-kind project for the school science fair. Original, thought-provoking, and filled with humor and heart, discover what happens when Francesca’s project literally comes to life in this bilingual play. For families with young people ages 10 and up. 

THE FORGOTTEN GIRL By India Hill Brown Adapted by Idris Goodwin Directed by Jon Royal 

Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 7 p.m. Milwaukee Youth Arts Center 

On a cold winter night, Iris and her best friend, Daniel, play in the freshly fallen snow in the woods when they stumble upon the gravestone of a young girl, Avery Moore. Strange things begin to happen, and Iris and Daniel research the area to find answers. They learn of their town’s history of segregation and become determined to restore Avery’s grave and pay proper respect for her and others buried there. A ghostly tale with a historical twist, this empowering tale that examines the connection of past and present, friendship and forgiveness. For families with young people ages 10 and up. 

First Stage will again offer the 2022/23 Amplify Series at no cost to attendees, but registration will be required. For additional information, please go to: or call (414) 267-2961. 

PSA: World Premiere of James DeVita’s “The Amazing Lemonade Girl” at Milwaukee’s First Stage

This could be the coolest play for young people in this spring season. Written by American Players Theatre stalwart, James DeVita, Milwaukee’s First Stage is bringing us his The Amazing Lemonade Girl! Details from this morning’s email:

First Stage is honored to present the world premiere production of THE AMAZING LEMONADE GIRL, written by award-winning playwright/ author, First Stage Resident Playwright and Wisconsin actor James DeVita and directed by First Stage alum and Northern Sky Associate Artistic Director Molly Rhode, with costume design by Austin Winter, sound design by Josh Schmidt and scenic and lighting design by Jason Fassl, USA. In this heartfelt, uplifting play, First Stage audiences will meet Alex Scott. She has a story to tell – about her life and her legacy, her humor and her heart. Alex is young girl who is fiercely determined to make a difference despite the challenges she faces. Alex’s true story reminds us all that a single person can change the world – one act, or even one cup, at a time. Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual. 

“We are honored to partner with First Stage in the development of THE AMAZING LEMONADE GIRL, bringing the courageous story of Alex and her mission to accelerate the search for a cure for childhood cancer to the stage. Alex’s legacy is one that inspires many and will reach so many families throughout southeastern Wisconsin in seeing this play at First Stage,” stated Audra Brennan, Sr. Director of Philanthropy at Northwestern Mutual. 

THE AMAZING LEMONADE GIRL runs April 22 – May 15, 2022 at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets start at $21 and can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at firststage.orgPerformance runtime is approximately 70 minutes, with no intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 7+. 

Director Molly Rhode shared her thoughts about the play: “My favorite thing about this script is how the character of Alex is in total control of the story. When an ensemble bursts forth to assist her, it becomes like an epic play date, with her directing and re-directing their efforts. There is a great sense of joy and playfulness, while still remaining direct and honest about this hard topic. The show is a celebration of Alex’s legacy and James DeVita crafts the journey beautifully, taking great care of the audience along the way.” 

Added Artistic Director Jeff Frank: “Every time I hear Alex’s story, it kindles deep inside me a desire to be better and to do more. She reminds us all that we are capable of doing great things.”  

Please check First Stage for more details and ticket information.

• Friday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. – OPENING NIGHT  

• Saturday, April 23 at 1:00 & 4:00 p.m. 

• Sunday, April 24 at 1:00 & 4:00 p.m.  

• Friday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m. – PAY WHAT YOU CHOOSE PERFORMANCE 

• Saturday, April 30 at 1:00 & 4:00 p.m. – SENSORY FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE AT 4:00 p.m. 

• Sunday, May 1 at 1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m.   

• Friday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m.  

• Saturday, May 7 at 1:00 & 4:00 p.m. 

• Sunday, May 8 at 1:00 & 4:00 p.m. 

• Friday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m.

• Saturday, May 14 at 1:00 & 4:00 p.m.  

• Sunday, May 15 at 1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. – ASL INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE at 4:00 p.m. 

See you there!!


Milwaukee, WI – February 15, 2022 – First Stage is delighted to announce that its next mainstage production will be THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, a world premiere co-commission with Oregon Children’s Theatre, which originally premiered in March of 2020. The production features clever, original music from classic rock to dance pop as well as fantastical costumes, sets and puppets that will entertain the entire family. Based on the bestselling book by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Adam Rex, First Stage Resident Playwright John Maclay wrote the book and lyrics and Eric Nordin wrote the music and lyrics. Choreography is by First Stage alum Molly Rhode and popular Milwaukee actor Kelly Doherty will direct. Kelly made her First Stage directing debut when the play premiered in 2020, but that run was cut short due to the pandemic. Kelly, along with the creative team of THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS and all of First Stage, is eager to share this delightful production and its infectious joy with audience members once again.  

In THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, three fierce warriors return to the stage for a rematch after their brief battle was cut short in March 2020. From the Kingdom of Backyard came Rock, from the Empire of Mom’s Home Office came Paper, and from a messy village in the Junk Drawer Realm came Scissors. They were the strongest, smartest and fastest in all the land. Though they searched far and wide for worthy opponents, no one could beat them . . . until they met each other and a musical battle royale began to see who would come out on top! Sponsored by Molitor FoundationPerformance run time is approximately 60 minutes, with no intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 4+. 

courtesy of First Stage!!

THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS runs March 5 – April 3, 2022 at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at

A fun, family-friendly world premiere musical about friendship, bravery and teamwork-