Local Theaters Find Ways to Perform

Innovative productions rely on zooming, outdoor performances or small cast shows.

By - Aug 26th, 2020 05:45 pm
Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents “McGuire” in the Stackner Cabaret January 20 – March 19, 2017. Featuring Anthony Crivello. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents “McGuire” in the Stackner Cabaret January 20 – March 19, 2017. Featuring Anthony Crivello. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Milwaukee has long been a great theater town, but the pandemic has created a huge challenge for companies seeking to stay relevant and  remain in business. Their responses vary, but all rely on innovating. Here’s a roundup of what’s on tap.

Renaissance Theaterworks is presenting a sponsored reading of new plays with their seventh annual, Brink. The two selections RTW is premiering are 26 Light Years From Now, by Rachael Bykowski and To Saints And Stars, by Jordan Ramirez Puckett.

Presented on September 9, 11,12, & 13 via Zoom, it includes not only viewing the reading but participating in talkbacks. It is free, but donations are appreciated. Register at

Skylight Music Theater is moving its event outdoors and down the street to Catalano Square in the Third Ward. The show is entitled Saturday in the Park with Andrew – Skylight Night 2020, and will be hosted by Andrew Varela, who will introduce some favorite musical performances from Skylight’s regulars.

This fundraiser is billed as a picnic.  The admission price includes a dinner, safely packaged, served with socially distanced seating, and a mask requirement.

The Picnic is scheduled for September 12, 2020, @ 6:00 pm. To purchase tickets to Saturday in the Park with Andrew- Skylight Night 2020, visit and select a seating category. Tickets are available for the following categories: Picnic blanket/chair space for 2, Picnic Table with seating for 4, and Table seating for 6.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre has already started its First Annual Milwaukee Black Theater Festival. The folks at MCT imagined this festival because their scheduled live event had to be pushed forward to 2021 due to COVID 19 concerns. Urban Milwaukee covered this story earlier.

This is a pay-to-see series of online performances. However, several other events that recognize and celebrate black contributions to theater and the encouragement of new talent are available online for ticket holders.

The Milwaukee Repertory Theater invites you to many different experiences on their At Home page. It features discussions, educational presentations, and performances that help keep you in touch with all things from the Rep and comments from community leaders on current events. These activities are available for you to stream at your convenience.

The Rep has also announced that its schedule is changed. Artistic director Mark Clements said in a press release, “Unfortunately, given the realities of COVID-19, producing the announced season in a safe and responsible manner is not possible at this time. However, we know how important theater is during challenging times, so we are pleased to offer an alternative that will provide high-quality, entertaining theater in an environment that is safe and welcoming to our patrons. For safety, we are starting with the smallest cast shows and building up from there through the spring.”

The first of such performances will be a one-man show of A Christmas Carol, starring Lee Ernst in December. All of the other small cast performances, in what The Rep is calling “The Season Reset,” will be moved back to 2021. The lineup includes four productionsElla Fitzgerald: The First Lady of Song with Alexis J. Roston), McGuire with Tony Award-winning actor and Milwaukee native Anthony Crivello, the world premiere of Antonio’s Song/I Was Dreaming of a Son by Pulitzer prize finalist Dael Orlandermsith and Antonio Suarez, and Nina Simone: Four Women by Christina Ham.

For dates and ticket information for The Season Reset go to Or call the ticket office at 414-224-9490

If you’re a season ticket holder for 2020-2021, your subscription will be automatically transferred to 2021-2022. See the website for your options and instructions on how to exercise them.

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