Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Press Release

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Announces the 2015/16 Season

Featuring the Tony Award-winning Musical Dreamgirls, Ayad Akhtar's The Invisible Hand, and three world premieres.

By - Feb 17th, 2015 09:54 am

February 17, 2015 – [Milwaukee] – Artistic Director Mark Clements announced Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2015/16 Season last night to an enthusiastic group of Rep Subscribers and Donors. “The plays we have selected for next season reflect our continued commitment to producing theater that is both enlightening and entertaining with strong, substantive stories,” said Clements. “I am particularly thrilled that our season offerings for next year will feature three world premieres: Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver by Randal Myler (author of this season’s Low Down Dirty Blues), and Dan Wheetman; American Song by award-winning Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith; and Sirens of Song by frequent Rep collaborator Kevin Ramsey. I am also delighted that we’ll be staging The Invisible Hand, by Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee playwright Ayad Akhtar; it will be the first time one of his works will be seen at The Rep. Continuing in the tradition that we’ve started since my arrival, the Quadracci Powerhouse season will kick off in high gear with the electric musical Dreamgirls. Audiences have responded so enthusiastically to our recent musicals The Color Purple and Ragtime that I believe they are in for another memorable experience with Dreamgirls.

Managing Director Chad Bauman added, “This is my second year of planning a season with Mark. It has been a privilege to be part of this process – the level of commitment from Mark to the artistic work we put on our stages is inspiring. I couldn’t be more excited about the productions that we have selected for the 2015/16 Season. We are confident that our audiences will find these choices as challenging and intriguing as we do. The plays selected for next year offer us the opportunity to engage with our community in important ways and to continue the deep, meaningful conversations that emerge from the work on our stages.”

The Quadracci Powerhouse will once again open in grand style with the Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls and will feature the fabulous musical powerhouse Nova W. Payton playing the role of Effie White. Loosely based on the career of the Supremes, Dreamgirls is a moving look at the behind-the-scenes reality of the entertainment industry. The production will be directed by Artistic Director Mark Clements and produced by the same creative team behind The Rep’s productions of Ragtime and The Color Purple. This holiday season, audiences can look forward to Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which coincides with the 125th Anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. This masterful whodunit is the longest running play on London’s West End and has an unforgettable final twist! The New Year will welcome John Steinback’s great American classic, Of Mice and Men directed by Artistic Director Mark Clements. He brings his acclaimed and award-winning production to Milwaukee after a record-setting run in Philadephia and will feature accomplished actor Scott Greer. The Quadracci Powerhouse Season continues with the thoughtful new play American Song by award-winning Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith and features Wisconsin favorite Jim DeVita (An Iliad). It will conclude with August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Fences, a poetic, powerful and deeply personal story which challenges the American dream directed by legendary director Lou Bellamy.

The 2015/16 Stiemke Studio Season will present two new works. The first is The Lion, featuring one man and six guitars, which was hailed as the “best new musical” by The Huffington Post, and was a “New York Times Critics’ Pick.” Writer/Performer Benjamin Scheuer shares his coming-of-age tale with candor and charm as a next generation troubadour. The Lion will be followed by a timely new political thriller, The Invisible Hand, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Milwaukee native Ayad Akhtar.

The Stackner Cabaret Season starts with the world premiere of Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver, a celebration of the legendary folk musician’s life and music. Created by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, the show will feature many of Denver’s hit songs and will offer a rare glimpse of the man behind the music. Next up in the Stackner Cabaret will be the return of the wildly popular hit musical Guys On Ice, back in the Stackner for the first time since 2001. Finishing up the 2015/16 Season will be The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, featuring the magnificent Zonya Love (Celie in The Color Purple), and the world premiere of Sirens of Song, featuring three musical divas belting out songs made legendary by female vocalists through the ages.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater 2015/16 Season

World Premiere Event
Back Home Again:
On the Road with John Denver

By Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman
September 11 – November 8, 2015 — Stackner Cabaret

Created by the writer and music director of the 2014/15 Stackner production Low Down Dirty Blues, this world premiere event is a celebration of folk musician John Denver’s life and music, and includes hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and “Leaving On a Jet Plane.” Back Home Again offers a rare glimpse of the man behind the music and the stories behind the songs.

Tony Award-Winning Musical
Dreamgirls

Music by Henry Krieger
Book & Lyrics by Tom Eyen
Orchestrations by Harold Wheeler
Directed by Artistic Director Mark Clements
September 22 – November 1, 2015 — Quadracci Powerhouse

Following on the success of sold-out runs of Ragtime and The Color Purple, the Quadracci Powerhouse kicks off with the groundbreaking musical, Dreamgirls. Winner of six Tony Awards and loosely based on the career of The Supremes, the musical features such hits as “Steppin’ to the Bad Side,” “One Night Only,” and the show stopping “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Dreamgirls celebrates the music of the 1960s and ’70s with dynamic performances and a moving look at the behind-the-scenes reality of the entertainment industry.

The New York Times Critics’ Pick
The Lion

Written and Performed by Benjamin Scheuer
Directed by Sean Daniels
September 30 – November 8, 2015 — Stiemke Studio

Some stories have to be sung. The Lion is a true story of love, loss, family, loyalty, and the redemptive power of music. Writer/performer Benjamin Scheuer shares his gripping coming-of-age tale in a candid, poignant, and charming new solo musical from a next-generation troubadour. Currently playing a limited return engagement in New York, where The Huffington Post called it “the best new musical of the year,” The Lion kicks off its National tour at The Rep where Milwaukee audiences will be the first around the country to hear The Lion roar!

Back By Popular Demand
Guys On Ice

Books & Lyrics by Fred Alley | Music by James Kaplan
Conceived & Researched by Fred Alley and Frederick Heide
November 13, 2015 – January 17, 2016 — Stackner Cabaret

Back in the Stackner for the first time since 2001, the hit musical Guys On Ice takes you inside a Northern Wisconsin ice shanty. Lloyd and Marvin brave the cold as they dream big dreams about catching big fish, while enjoying the simple luxuries of a faithful fishing-pole and a warm snowmobile suit — and hoping against an unwelcome visit from Ernie the Moocher! The show will feature Steve Koehler and Doug Mancheski reprising their roles, and Bo Johnson (The Doyle and Debbie Show) as Ernie the Moocher.

Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth
The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie
November 17 – December 20, 2015 — Quadracci Powerhouse

Playing in London’s West End for over 60 years, The Mousetrap has been released to American audiences through a limited number of authorized productions – including Milwaukee Rep! A murder is committed at a newly opened rooming house, and the snowbound hosts and guests – with the aid of a police inspector – must determine who the killer is before he or she strikes again. Agatha Christie’s masterful whodunit weaves an intricate plot filled with nerve-rattling suspense, all leading up to an unforgettable final twist!

A Great American Classic
Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck
Directed by Artistic Director Mark Clements
January 19 – February 21, 2016 — Quadracci Powerhouse

One of the most celebrated works in American literature, Of Mice and Men is a compelling tale of friendship and survival. George and Lenny are migrant workers who dream of settling down on a farm where the land stretches on forever and the soft rabbits need tending. This classic drama is a touching portrait of two underdogs in pursuit of the American dream. Mark Clements brings his acclaimed production to Milwaukee after a record-setting run in Philadelphia, where it won eight Barrymore Awards (including Best Production), and played to sold-out audiences.

Featuring the Amazing Zonya Love
The Devil’s Music:
The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith

Book by Angelo Parra
Conceived & Originally Directed by Joe Brancato
Musical Arrangements by Miche Braden
January 22 – March 20, 2016 — Stackner Cabaret

Laughter and bawdiness come together to deliver an entertaining and unforgettable evening as “The Empress of the Blues,” Bessie Smith, gives an after-hours show and recounts a life as large and outrageous as her talent. Featuring the incomparable Zonya Love, last seen at The Rep as Celie in The Color Purple, The Devil’s Music features songs including, “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Baby Doll,” and “Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do.”

Timely New Political Thriller
The Invisible Hand

By Ayad Akhtar
February 24 – April 3, 2016 — Stiemke Studio

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee playwright Ayad Akhtar, The Invisible Hand investigates the relationship between terrorism and world financial markets. When an unnamed Islamic Pakistani terrorist group kidnaps Nick Bright, a highly successful player at a major investment bank, his captors demand he raise the money for his ransom by trading in the financial markets. Nick ends up teaching them how to manipulate the market, and, in doing so, changes the relationship with his captors fundamentally.

World Premiere Event
American Song

By Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Artistic Director Mark Clements
March 15 – April 10, 2016 — Quadracci Powerhouse

Andy Mancheski’s child left for school one morning and never came back. A Milwaukee Rep commission from award-winning Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, American Song asks what it means to be a father, a husband, and a citizen in a complex and changing world. It tells the story of an ordinary man, who turned on the television news and knew the story of his happy life was about to take a shocking and insurmountable turn. American Song, featuring the extraordinary Jim DeVita (An Iliad), is one man’s deeply moving examination of guilt and innocence, parental bonds, and life here and now.

World Premiere Event
Sirens of Song

Written and Directed by Kevin Ramsey
March 25 – May 29, 2016 — Stackner Cabaret

Created especially for The Rep’s Stackner Cabaret, Sirens of Song is a musical celebration of the songs and stories that defined the consciousness of women throughout history. Three powerhouse and versatile female singers take us on an uplifting journey through fantastic heart-on-the-sleeve standards, like “Phenomenal Woman,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “Natural Woman.” Part Concert. Part Play. All Heart.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Drama
August Wilson’s
Fences
Directed by Lou Bellamy
April 26 – May 22, 2016 — Quadracci Powerhouse

The beloved Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning drama, Fences explores a family’s hopes and dreams in a rapidly changing 1950s America. Troy Maxson, a former Negro League baseball player, must grapple with the reality of his life as a sanitation worker in Pittsburgh. Fences is August Wilson at his best: challenging the American dream through a poetic, powerful, and deeply personal story.

Off- Subscription

40th Anniversary!
A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Joseph Handreddy and Edward Morgan
December 1 – December 24, 2015 — Pabst Theater

Rep Lab
Short Play Festival
January 8 – January 11 , 2016 — Stiemke Studio
Back for its sixth season, Rep Lab features the Artistic Intern Company in a series of short plays.

Please note: All plays, dates, artists and songs are subject to change.

Subscriptions will be available for renewing and new subscribers beginning Tuesday, February 17. Subscription prices for the 2015/16 Season range from $99 – $502. Packages available are the Ultimate 11-play package which includes the entire season spanning all three of The Rep’s performance spaces; Quadracci Powerhouse/Stackner 9-play package; Quadracci Powerhouse/Stiemke Studio 7-play package; Quadracci Powerhouse 5-play package; Stackner Cabaret 4-Play package as well as a Create Your Own Season package and Flex Passes. For additional information on subscription offerings, please contact The Rep’s Ticket Office at 414-224-9490 or visit www.MilwaukeeRep.com.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater is a nationally-recognized company that presents compelling dramas, powerful classics, award-winning contemporary works, full-scale musicals, housed in its three unique performance venues – the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret. The Rep also produces an annual production of A Christmas Carol at the beautiful and historic Pabst Theater. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Managing Director Chad Bauman, The Rep is committed to creating plays that are meaningful and relevant to the society we live in – plays that are challenging, visceral, and engage the community through the issues they explore, demonstrating how a theater deeply rooted in its locality can also enjoy a richly influential and resonant national voice.

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