Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
Press Release

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET by Tom Dudzick

November 22-December 17, 2017 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre

By - Oct 17th, 2017 12:11 pm
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents "Miracle on South Division Street" Nov. 22 - Dec. 17

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents “Miracle on South Division Street” Nov. 22 – Dec. 17

Milwaukee, WI. … For generations, the Nowaks of Buffalo, NY, have been the self-appointed caretakers of a shrine honoring the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary to their family patriarch – but this Christmas, daughter Ruth wants the real story. MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET, running November 22 – December 17, 2017, is a perfectly timed holiday tale about believing in the bonds that tie a family together. Tom Dudzick’s spirited comedy, directed by MCT producing artistic director and fellow Buffalonian C. Michael Wright, will be performed at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre in the Historic Third Ward.

Buffalo may be depressed, but Clara Nowak is not. She and her family have remained a beacon of hope for their neighbors, thanks to their local claim to fame: a 20-foot shrine to the Blessed Mother commemorating the night when she appeared to Clara’s father in his barbershop. But one fateful Christmas Eve, her daughter Ruth announces she’s writing a one-woman play about the family legend, spurred on by a deathbed confession that changes the whole story.

To bring this family to life, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre has both invited members of our own artistic family to return, as well as added new blood. Playing Clara, the staunchly religious matriarch, is Raeleen McMillion, our Ruth Schudson Leading Lady for the 2017-18 season. Also returning is Josh Krause, seen last season in GREAT EXPECTATIONS, who will be playing Jimmy, the baby of the family and a blue-collar worker with his own secret.

Kat Wodtke makes her mainstage debut at MCT (after appearing in the Young Playwrights Festival) to MCT to play Ruth, the middle child, seeking to uncover the truth about their family. Rounding out the cast is Greta Wohlrabe, brand-new to MCT, as Beverly, the eldest child in the Nowak clan and a fierce protector of its traditions.

Buffalo native Tom Dudzick describes himself as “one of the few playwrights who makes a living at it.” In addition to MIRACLE, his plays include GREETINGS!, another Christmas tale that is a holiday favorite across the country, and OVER THE TAVERN, the first of three in a semi-fictional trilogy about his early family years in Buffalo. While MCT will be presenting MIRACLE in a holiday setting, the play also exists in an original, non-holiday version, which was staged off-Broadway in 2012.

While the action is set in a city far from Milwaukee, there’s close personal ties to MCT’s production. Producing artistic director C. Michael Wright, also from Buffalo, has known Dudzick since college. The two met while attending SUNY Fredonia; Dudzick was a senior and Wright a freshman.

“I’ve been wanting to produce a play of his for some time now and I’m always looking for fun, “feel-good” plays with holiday themes,” Wright says. “This was a perfect fit! And this Polish family, the Nowaks, just tickles the hell out of me. I feel like I actually know them.”

In addition to portraying the de facto leader of the Nowak family, MIRACLE artist Raeleen McMillion is this year’s recipient of the “Ruth Schudson Leading Lady” award. McMillion has performed with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre three times prior to MIRACLE (most recently in OCTOBER, BEFORE I WAS BORN) and frequently works as a dialect or vocal coach on productions. MCT’s “Ruth Schudson Leading Lady” award is a donor-designated fund created to honor MCT co-founder Ruth Schudson and provide lasting support to our mission of employing and nurturing local theatre artists. The fund supports the work of one female actor each season.

For this production, MCT will be partnering with the Cathedral Center, a local nonprofit that provides a safe environment for women and families while working to end homelessness. Throughout the run of MIRACLE, MCT and the Cathedral Center will be hosting a gift drive in the lobby of the Studio Theatre. Patrons are encouraged to bring adult socks and gloves, or $10 gift cards to Wal-Mart, Walgreens or CVS, to donate.

MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET performances will take place November 22 to December 17, 2017 (Opening Night: Friday, November 24), in the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Tickets are available Monday through Saturday from noon-6:00 p.m. (noon-5:00 p.m. summer hours through August 5) at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, or by phone at (414) 291-7800. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours a day at milwaukeechambertheatre.com. Group, student and senior discounts are also available. For more information, visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com. MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET is co-sponsored by George & Julie Mosher and Mickey & Casey Ripp.

[ CAST ]

Jimmy Nowak …………………………………………………………………………………………………. Josh Krause

Clara Nowak ……………………………………………………………………………………….. Raeleen McMillion

Ruth Nowak …………………………………………………………………………………………………… Kat Wodtke

Beverly Nowak ………………………………………………………………………………………….. Greta Wohlrabe

[ PRODUCTION STAFF ]

Director/Producing Artistic Director……………………………………………………………… C. Michael Wright

Stage Manager…………………………………………………………………………………………………… Judy Martel

Scenic Designer……………………………………………………………………………….. Stephen Hudson-Mairet

Costume Designer……………………………………………………………………………………………… Debra Krajec

Lighting Designer…………………………………………………………………………………………. Alan Piotrowicz

Sound Designer…………………………………………………………………………………………….. Terrance Barrett

Properties Master……………………………………………………………………………………….. Meghan Savagian

Dialect Coach……………………………………………………………………………………………………. Tyne Turner

Assistant Director…………………………………………………………………………………………………. April Paul

[ PERFORMANCE INFORMATION ]

September 20 – October 15, 2017
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
22

7:30 p.m.P

23

Thanksgiving

24

8:00 p.m. O

25           4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

26

2:00 p.m.

29         1:00 p.m.*

7:30 p.m. V

30

7:30 p.m. T

Dec 1

8:00 p.m.

2             4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

3

2:00 p.m.

6
7:30 p.m. C
7           

7:30 p.m. T

8

8:00 p.m.

9             4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

10

2:00 p.m.

13         1:00 p.m.*

           7:30 p.m.

14

7:30 p.m. T

15

8:00 p.m.

16           4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

17

2:00 p.m.

P = Preview; O = Opening; T = Talkback; V = ViewPoints;

*= Talk Theatre; C = Community Building Night (half-price tickets)

[ SPECIAL EVENTS ]

–Pre-performance ViewPoints: Join us for an insightful pre-show conversation about growing up in Buffalo, with an actor/comedian from the area. This free presentation is on Wednesday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre.

–Pre-performance Talk Theatre: MCT producing artistic director C. Michael Wright will lead lively, informative chats with assistant director April Paul at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, November 29 and scenic designer Stephen Hudson-Mairet at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, December 13 in the Skylight Bar & Bistro.

–Post-performance Talkbacks: Post-show discussions with the artists will take place following performances on Thursday, November 30; Thursday, November 7; and Thursday, November 14.

Community Building Night: As part of our ongoing commitment to ensure MCT productions are accessible to as many members of the Milwaukee community as possible, we’re hosting half-price Community Building Nights during every production in the 2017-2018 season. MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET’s Community Building Night is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6. Tickets are extremely limited for MIRACLE’s Community Building Night.

[ BIOGRAPHIES ]

JOSH KRAUSE – Jimmy

Josh Krause is delighted to return to Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, where he was last seen as Pip in GREAT EXPECTATIONS. He recently completed the 2017 Apprentice Program at American Players Theatre, where he appeared in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, CYRANO DE BERGERAC and A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE. Other regional credits include A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Fred) for Children’s Theater of Madison, and VISITING MR. GREEN (Ross) and JEEVES AT SEA (Crumpet) for Artists’ Ensemble Theatre. Josh received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Indiana University. Look for him this coming February at Next Act in EQUIVOCATION. In addition to acting, Josh is a teaching artist for the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and Sunset Playhouse.

RAELEEN MCMILLION – Clara

Raeleen is very happy to be spending the holidays working with one of her favorite theatre companies! MCT audiences may remember her as A Lady of Letters in TALKING HEADS, Mrs. Potts in PICNIC, and Martha in OCTOBER BEFORE I WAS BORN. She has also served as a dialect coach for several productions at MCT, most recently, FRANKIE & JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE. Raeleen is a proud member of two labor unions: American Federation of Teachers & Actors Equity Association. She teaches Acting, Voice & Speech, and Dialects at UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts.

KAT WODTKE – Ruth

Kat is delighted to return to MCT, where she appeared previously in the 2013 Young Playwrights Festival. Kat hails from Milwaukee and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota. Kat is an aspiring Renaissance woman who acts, directs, builds, composes, sings, plays, teaches, writes, organizes, dreams, schemes, and creates. She has performed with Renaissance Theaterworks, Forward Theater Company, Optimist Theatre, Theatre Gigante, Splinter Group, Perseverance Theatre, and Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre, among others.

GRETA WOHLRABE – Beverly

Greta Wohlrabe feels incredibly blessed to be making her MCT debut. Regional theater credits: LET THERE BE LOVE, American Conservatory Theater; BOEING BOEING, Indiana Repertory Theater; MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, MACBETH, AS YOU LIKE IT, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, Santa Cruz Shakespeare;  GROUNDED, Cardinal Stage Company; VENUS IN FUR, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (LCT Award, Best Actress in a Play) and Milwaukee Repertory Theater; CLYBOURNE PARK, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company; SKYLIGHT (Wall Street Journal Best Performance in a Play 2012), TWELFTH NIGHT, TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, THE CRITIC, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, THE TEMPEST, American Players Theatre; THE MOUSETRAP, CABARET, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. MFA in Acting from Purdue University, BA from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and an alumna of the Eugene O’Neill National Theatre Institute.

MICHAEL WRIGHT – Director, MCT Producing Artistic Director

Michael hails from Buffalo, NY, so it’s a real treat to be directing this particular play! Since joining the staff here in 2005, Michael has directed quite a number of MCT productions including THE FEW, LOBBY HERO, FALLEN ANGELS, SLOWGIRL, DRIVING MISS DAISY and PICNIC, as well as three original works: OCTOBER, BEFORE I WAS BORN, THE DALY NEWS and DICKENS IN AMERICA (which he also directed at American Players Theatre). Before MCT, he served as Associate Artistic Director of Next Act Theatre for eight years. Since moving to Wisconsin in 1988, Michael has directed well over 75 productions. Some favorites have been THE STORY OF MY LIFE for Milwaukee Opera Theatre, VISITING MR. GREEN for Next Act, THE SYRINGA TREE for American Players Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks and Delaware Theatre Company and A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER for Next Act, Madison Rep and Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida. Michael has been acting professionally for 40 years and has appeared on Broadway, in Israel and in regional theatres all across the country. His most recent performances have been as Paul in a concert version of A CHORUS LINE for Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Theater RED, and as Vanya in VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE here at MCT. In 2009, Michael was honored with an “Artist of the Year” award by the City of Milwaukee Arts Board.

MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE

Founded in 1975, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) produces intimate and accessible theatrical works that engage and challenge the audience, while employing and nurturing principally local theatre artists. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director C. Michael Wright and Managing Director Kirsten Finn, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre performs at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

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