First Stage
Press Release

First Stage commissions its first international playwright with THE SNOW world premiere.

February 26 – March 20, 2016 at the Todd Wehr Theater, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

By - Feb 3rd, 2016 03:46 pm

Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin Cycle, First Stage’s new play development initiative honoring the local history and heritage of Wisconsin, continues with THE SNOW by Finegan Kruckemeyer, February 26 – March 20, 2016. Performances take place at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street, downtown Milwaukee. Tickets 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

When an epic snowfall imprisons a tiny village and its inhabitants, young Theodore Sutton and six of the village’s bravest and strongest are catapulted into the grandest of adventures.First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank directs as THE SNOW makes its debut at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. “Boldly theatrical, hilariously funny, and incredibly powerful – THE SNOW promises to be a winter treat for our audiences,” said Frank. “Finegan Kruckemeyer is a master storyteller, and we are thrilled that this story will be part of The Wisconsin Cycle, honoring our own state’s frozen tundra and rich tradition of Germanic folk tales.”

Versatile actor and musician Andrew Crowe joins the artistic team as Music Director. His original, musical soundscape (using multiple layers of sound including accordion, mandolin, ukulele, fiddle, guitar, didgeridoo and others) will be performed live onstage at each performance of THE SNOW, informing the character’s intentions, motivations and actions.

Jeff Frank (Director) has been First Stage’s artistic director since February 2003.  Previously he had served as education director/associate artistic director.  Jeff is a native Wisconsinite who earned a B.F.A. in theater from UW–Whitewater and went on to the University of Utah, earning an M.F.A. in child drama.  Over the past 18 seasons Jeff has directed over 50 First Stage productions.  Among his favorites are:  LUCHADORA, BIG, THE MUSICAL; CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY; PETER PAN AND WENDY; U: BUG: ME; THE NEVERENDING STORY; SLEEPING BEAUTY; TOM SAWYER; SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON; LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE; A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS; THE HOBBIT; A MIDNIGHT CRY; PERSEUS BAYOU; A CHRISTMAS STORY and THE GIVER.

Finegan Kruckemeyer (Playwright) Finegan has had 77 commissioned plays performed on five continents and translated into six languages. His work has enjoyed seasons in: over 100 international festivals, eight US national tours, and at the Sydney Opera House (six works), DC’s Kennedy Center (two works), NY’s Lincoln Center, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Shanghai’s Malan Flower Theatre, and at theatres throughout Germany. He and his work have received 36 national and international awards over the past 13 years, including the inaugural Sidney Myer Fellowship, 2015 David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Australian Playwrighting, and four Australian Writers Guild Awards. He was Keynote Speaker at the 2015 Lincoln Center Summer Forum, and has spoken at conferences in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Denmark, England, Indonesia, Scotland, Sweden and the US, with essays published and works studied at several international universities.

The adult actor cast of THE SNOW includes Andrew Crowe (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Connor/Musician/Ensemble; Matt Daniels (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Rajev/Bird/K; Karen Estrada as Margot/Ensemble; Tim Linn as Oliver; and Jonathan Williams (First Stage Teaching Artist Fellow) as Roll Ark/Ensemble. Understudies includeAshley Jordan and Karl Iglesias.

Young performer roles are double cast. Young performers in the Strong Cast are Seth Hoffman (as Theodore), Marie Charles (Ensemble) and Laetitia Faye (Ensemble) from Milwaukee; Lauren Penzkover (as Ren/Ensemble) from Mukwonago; Mackenzie Swart (as Rin/Ensemble) from Brookfield; Bradley Nowacek (Ensemble) from Wauwatosa; Mallorey Wallace (Ensemble) from Nashotah; Lukas Czerwinski (Ensemble) from Greenfield; and Troy Trettin (Ensemble) from Whitefish Bay.

Young performers in the Brave Cast are Zach Duckler (as Theodore) and Katey Van Vooren (Ensemble) from Mequon; Marion Frank (as Ren/Ensemble) and Jimmy Mullooly(Ensemble) from Wauwatosa; Isabelle Abbott (as Rin/Ensemble) from Menomonee Falls; Rhea Goodwyn (Ensemble) and Costello Mylott (Ensemble) from Milwaukee; Melisa Erman(Ensemble) from New Berlin; and Anna Fitzsimmons (Ensemble) from Mequon.

The Artistic Staff for THE SNOW includes: Katie Cummings (Assistant Director); Sarah Hunt-Frank (Scenic Designer); Nick Belley (Lighting Designer); Andrew Crowe (Music Director); Kim Instenes (Costume Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Daniel Hanson (Stage Manager) and Julia Xiong (Assistant Stage Manager).

 Tickets start at $15.  Tickets may be purchased at or through the Marcus Center box office, in person at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee or by phone (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500. The number for TDD (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.

Group Sales – Groups of 10 or more receive 15% off main floor, regular single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Call (414) 267-2964 or email for more information.

First Stage Family Packages – any combination of tickets for three or more plays in our 2015-16 season – are on sale now. Family package prices are available at up to 30% off the cost of regular single ticket prices. Benefits include unlimited ticket exchanges, free family workshops, backstage tours and more.

Special events for THE SNOW

Opening Night Reception: Friday, February 26 – Following the opening night performance, First Stage invites all patrons to attend the Opening Night Reception at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located one mile from the Marcus Center at 325 W. Walnut Street. Patrons can mix and mingle with the cast and crew of THE SNOW while enjoying refreshments, courtesy of First Stage.

Sensory-Friendly Performance: Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m.

Presented in partnership with the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin

Designed for children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other sensory, social, and cognitive disabilities, this performance of THE SNOW will include a limited number of attendees, lower volume, lights up, and a host of resources and support before, during and after the performance. Contact the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961 to reserve your tickets.



Location:  The Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water Street, Milwaukee

Dates:  February 26 – March 20, 2016

Description: When an epic snowfall seemingly imprisons the residents of the tiny village of Kishka, young Theodore Sutton proposes the villagers build a catapult to fling him and send six of the village’s bravest and strongest out over the snow in search of a solution. The catapult is hastily assembled, and Theodore and the heroes are launched over the snow and into the grandest of adventures. Whimsical and humorous, dark and mysterious, heartfelt and sincere, this world premiere play weaves a fantastical Grimmsian tale for the entire family. Please note: Theodore’s journey leads him to confront danger, loss and the darkness. For everyone ages 8 and up.


  • Friday, February 26 at 7:00 p.m. – Opening Night
  • Saturday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, February 28 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m. – Pay What You Choose performance
  • Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m. – Sensory Friendly performance
  • Saturday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 6 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 12 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 13 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 19 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 20 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.

Ticket and information:
Tickets start at $15. Call (414) 273-7206 or online at

ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m. – this performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or have low hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater.

About First Stage
Since 1987, First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten, and entertain; unparalleled Theater Academy training that fosters life skills through stage skills; and dynamic Theater in Education programs that promote active learning in our schools and community.  In 2012, First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

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