Milwaukee Rep’s grand design for 2010-11 theater season
Monday night, Milwaukee Repertory Theater subscribers got their chance say goodbye to outgoing artistic director Joseph Hanreddy and greet Mark Clements, the incoming AD. As it turns out, Hanreddy isn’t going that far away. He will direct a couple of Rep productions in 2010-11 season.
Clements explained that and other aspects of the new season and tagged a few of them as extra-special.
“For me,” Clements said, “it’s as wonderful to see an epic opera or musical, or a large-scale classic in a large space, but equally interesting to see Shakespeare, for example, in a small space — [where you can feel] the excitement and immediacy of the language. That’s really what the season we’re about to announce is all about.”
The first cause for oohs and ahhs in the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater was the first show, Cabaret — the first full-scale musical at the Powerhouse. All nine actors in this year’s company will return next season; maybe we’ll see familiar actors such as Gerard Neugent, Torrey Hanson and Deborah Staples in an unfamiliar musical setting.
Several American or Midwest premieres made the list. Clements made special note of Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev and introduced guest director Aaron Posner to talk more about it. Posner talked about working closely with the highly-regarded author.
“Chaim was absolutely passionate that all his work, while living in a particularly Jewish world, was accessible to all audiences,” Posner exclaimed.
The new AD also talked about researching Wisconsin and finding Wayland Pickard, creator of the one-man show Liberace: The Man, The Music & The Memories. Clements described the hit adaptation of The 39 Steps (“imagine Monty Python performing Alfred Hitchock”). He waxed poetic about the power of Speaking in Tongues — to be directed by The Rep’s Laura Gordon, and noted another August Wilson play in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Currently, The Rep is staging the last in that playwright’s century cycle, Radio Golf.
Perhaps the biggest announcement of the evening was Bombshells. Clements described it as a play written by Joanna Murray-Smith specifically for actor and dancer Caroline O’Connor (Moulin Rouge). The show currently is running in four places across the world; Milwaukee will get O’Connor herself.
The Rep will reach out to a younger audience with two shows. The first is The Bomb-itty of Errors, a rap adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, set for the Stackner Cabaret. Brent Hazelton stepped up to announce that the Rep’s Artistic Intern Ensemble, fully supported by the Rep’s main players, will launch The Rep Lab (that’s the working title and could change), six performances featuring monologues, experiments and a fully-realized original play.
The season will end with Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, with Laura Gordon and Lee Ernst in the coveted roles of Linda and Willy Loman.
“What it’s all about for us here is redefining the theatrical experience,” Clements stated. “Not just the show that we see, but what happens in and all around it. [That will determine] how we develop our audiences for the future.”
Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the book Goodbye To Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Director: Mark Clements
September 14 – October 24, 2010
LAUREL AND HARDY
By Tom McGrath
September 24 – November 14, 2010
MY NAME IS ASHER LEV
Written and directed by Aaron Posner
Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
September 29 – November 14, 2010
LIBERACE: The Man, The Music & the Memories
Created by Wayland Pickard and Randy Nolen
November 19, 2010 – January 16, 2011
By Joanna Murray-Smith
Starring Caroline O’Connor
Director: Mark Clements
November 23 – December 19, 2010
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens; adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and Edward Morgan
Directed by Joseph Hanreddy
December 2 – December 26, 2010
ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S THE 39 STEPS
Adapted by Patrick Barlow
From the novel by John Buchan, the film of Alfred Hitchcock
and the original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon
January 11 – February 13, 2011
NOBODY LONESOME FOR ME
By Lanie Robertson
Director: Sandy Ernst
January 21 – March 13, 2011
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
By Andrew Bovell
Director: Laura Gordon
January 26 – March 13, 2011
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
By August Wilson
March 1 – 27, 2011
THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS
An ad-rap-tation of William Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J. Qaiyum and Erik Weiner
March 18 – May 8, 2011
THE REP LAB • A Special Event
Featuring The Rep’s nationally-renowned Artistic Intern Ensemble
April 1 – 4, 2011
DEATH OF A SALESMAN
By Arthur Miller
Director: Mark Clements
April 12 – May 8, 2011
Subscription packages will be offered for an 11-play package, a 7-play package and a 5-play package across The Rep’s three performance spaces. Subscription prices range from $45 – $497. Flexible packages will also be available including FlexPasses and the Build Your Own season package. For additional information on subscription offerings, please contact The Rep’s Ticket Office at 414-224-9490 or visit the Milwaukee Rep website.